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Just introduced, the new Sihao Flower Fairy electric car is the first to be equipped with a sodium battery, completely replacing the denounced lithium one. A great step forward in the development of this technology, which offers many advantages, but also drawbacks.

Only marketed in China for now, Sihao’s new flower fairy it could have gone completely unnoticed in our region, especially since the manufacturer is completely unknown to us. Except that the city car, whose name means ” flower fairy He has something that others don’t have. And for good reason, it’s the first electric car to be equipped with a sodium battery.

a great first

And the provider is not the Chinese giant CATL, which is also working on the development of this technology and should make it accessible later this year. No, this time it’s about batteryan unknown Chinese company as announced by the Chinese site CNEVPost. The latter has just announced the signing of a partnership with the JAC group (Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group Corp) through a Chinese joint venture with Volkswagen, to equip one of its local models.

So this is the adorable Flower Fairy, already available from 2021 with LFP battery (lithium-iron-phosphate) from quite classic from 19.7 to 31.5 kWh with a range of between 200 and 306 kilometers according to the Chinese CLTC cycle. Instead we must trust 170 to 260 kilometers in the European WLTP cycle. Also known as the Sehol EX10, the car marks a turning point in the development of sodium batteries.

The city car embarks a storage tank with a capacity of 25 kWh and showing a density of 120 Wh/kg. This figure is not exceptional, as CATL expects to achieve an energy density of 160 Wh/kg, and classic LFP versions of the car reach 140 Wh/kg. The higher this figure, the lighter the battery will be at equivalent capacity, which reduces the consumption of the car and increases the size of the battery. Thus to finally increase the autonomy of the electric car.

The car can go up to 252 kilometers on a single charge, probably on the CLTC cycle (ie about 200 kilometers WLTP). The city car supports 3C and 4C fast charging, which is equivalent to a maximum power of 75 to 100 kW. If the brand’s site does not specify the charging power of the standard version, it specifies that 42 minutes are necessary to go from 30 to 80%.

Relayed by the Chinese site is homea spokesperson for Sihao New Energy clarified that sodium batteries will initially equip small cars. As a reminder, the Sihao Flower Fairy is 3.65 meters long, which would allow it, if it were ever to be launched in Europe, to compete with the Dacia Spring, the Renault Twingo E-Tech or the Leapmotor T03.

Sodium battery: the advantages

At the moment, no date has yet been announced regarding a massive commercialization of this version equipped with a sodium battery. Sihao New Energy announced that its full-scale production line for these batteries is in service since November 2022. Now you must carry out tests in real conditions by the company, in order to refine the last details and study the solutions for a launch to the general public.

But, what is the interest of this technology that we hear more and more about? First, it does not use lithium, a material whose extraction is polluting and unethical, and which is also very expensive. Also, some fear a shortage in the next few years, due to excess demand. sodium batteries dispense with cobalt, nickel and graphite as well. Furthermore, producing this type of battery would cost 20% less than an LFP battery (lithium-iron-phosphate), already cheaper than NMC (nickel-manganese-cobalt).

Thus, these innovative batteries could allow manufacturers to offer cheaper models. The only solution that is currently contemplated pending solid-state batteries is then to reduce the size, to the detriment of autonomy. But be careful, because sodium batteries also offer a lower density, which will have a direct impact on the distance that can be traveled on a single charge. However, this will be offset by higher charging power over time.

Thus, it would be possible to go from 10 to 80% in just 15 minutes. In addition, these batteries are also more resistant to cold, which has a significant impact on charging speed as well as autonomy. If rumors claimed that future BYD cars would be equipped with it, the manufacturer was quick to deny it.

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