• Revolutionary batteries don’t use lithium, cobalt or nickel
• CATL also supplies automakers Volkswagen and Geely
China’s CATL has become the first major automotive battery maker to unveil a sodium-ion battery, and plans to set up a supply chain for the new technology in 2023.
CATL, the country’s top car battery maker with a market value of almost $200 billion, also unveiled on Thursday a battery pack that integrates sodium-ion and lithium-ion batteries.
The sodium-ion batteries do not contain lithium, cobalt or nickel. It did not disclose cost details of the new batteries.
Automakers that CATL supplies include Tesla Inc, Volkswagen AG and Geely and the move comes as demand for key battery ingredients, particularly cobalt, has spiked.
That has spurred car and battery makers to seek alternatives to the current three main technologies – nickel-cobalt-aluminium (NCA), nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) and lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries.
The energy density of its new sodium-ion batteries is still lower than that of LFP batteries, Huang Qisen, deputy head of CATL’s research centre told an online briefing. But he added that they perform well in cold-weather and fast-charging scenarios.
CATL, which competes with Japan’s Panasonic Corp and South Korea’s LG Chem, has over 5,000 researchers, its chairman, Zeng Yuqun, told the briefing.
It is also developing other technologies that integrate battery cells directly onto an electric vehicle’s frame to extend its driving range.
- Reporting by Reuters