Leading power battery manufacturer CATL will begin mass production of sodium-ion batteries for vehicles in the fourth quarter of this year, according to a report by 36Kr on April 20.
The report stated that insiders revealed that CATL’s sodium-ion batteries will be installed in the first new car model of Chery Automobile’s iCAR brand and “will adopt a mixed scheme of sodium-ion and lithium-ion batteries”. The model is expected to be launched in the fourth quarter of this year. In addition, CATL’s sodium-ion batteries will also be supplied to Chery’s new energy vehicles such as QQ Ice Cream and Little Ant.
A few days ago, CATL announced that its sodium-ion battery would debut on Chery models with both parties launching a joint battery brand covering M3P and Sodium-Ion Battery fields.
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According to the report by 36Kr, an insider from BYD said that the firm’s self-developed sodium-ion battery will also enter mass production later this year and it will be adopted in the Ocean series’ Seagull model. The model is priced between 78,800 yuan ($11467) and 95,800 yuan. BYD also plans to adopt a hybrid scheme of sodium-ion and lithium-ion batteries.
Due to the price surge in lithium last year, top-tier companies like BYD and CATL have accelerated their pace towards sodium-ion technology. According to Huajin Securities, “Sodium-based materials cost about 30% -40% less than Lithium-based ones.” However, sodium-ion batteries cannot completely replace lithium-ion ones due to disadvantages such as lower energy density compared with the latter.”
In addition, the price advantage of Sodium-based materials seems difficult to reflect since the price of Lithium has fallen sharply this year, even falling below the critical point of 200,000 yuan/ton.
BYD previously stated that it would continue to develop sodium-ion batteries if lithium prices remain above 200,000 yuan/ton. Some industry insiders have said: “Sodium-ion batteries are currently in a dilemma.”
Currently, the sodium-ion battery industry chain is still in its initial stage and upstream technology has not yet been finalized with multiple technical directions available. As the commercial environment gradually matures, the industrial pattern of sodium-ion batteries is gradually forming.
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