1st generation sodium ion battery

In July, 2021, Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Ltd. (CATL) announced its plan about first generation sodium ion battery. The Chinese battery giant planned to set up its supply chain for the new technology in 2023.

Electric Vehicles are getting more popular due to public policies and change of our awareness on climate change. As a result, demand for key battery ingredients including cobalt and nickel has soared up. This is one of the reasons why both automotive makers and battery manufacturers seek alternatives. In fact, the sodium-ion batteries do not contain lithium, cobalt or nickel. Therefore, it can be a game changer in the battery market.

CATL, one of the largest battery maker in the world, unveiled a battery pack that integrates sodium-ion and lithium-ion batteries. Of course, the new technology has both advantages and disadvantages. A disadvantage is that the energy density of sodium ion batteries is still lower than that of other batteries. However, they can perform well in cold-weather and fast-charging scenarios. These are advantages for sodium ion batteries.

CATL is also developing other technologies that integrate battery cells directly onto an electric vehicle’s frame to extend its driving range.

Who is CATL?

Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL) is a global leader in the development and manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries. In addition, its businesses cover Research and Development, manufacturing and sales in battery systems for new energy vehicles as well as energy storage systems. The founders established the company in 2011 and its head office is in Ningde, Fujian Province.

CATL operates manufacturing bases in Ningde, Qinghai and Liyang. The Chinese technology giant has three main R&D centers. They are in Ningde, Shanghai and Berlin. In fact, according to its homepage, CATL was ranked as the top share in the consumption volume of EV battery products for the third consecutive years.

Alternative to lithium ion batteries

We are experiencing so many natural disasters all over the world. Winter storms in Texas were just one example. Of course, we cannot conclude that climate change causes all natural disasters. However, it seems that we must take proper actions immediately to combat climate change or climate emergency. As a result, many national or regional governments made a decision to ban the new sales of diesel or gasoline engine vehicles.

Therefore, it is also natural that the sales of Electric Vehicles are skyrocketing. It means that we need more batteries for EVs. However, lithium ion batteries, which are major battery for EVs, have several problems. One is that key battery ingredients including cobalt and nickel exist unevenly across the globe.

The other is that lithium ion batteries are flammable. In fact, CATL’s rival, LG Chem, is facing the recall from automotive makers. For example, General Motors will seek reimbursement from LG Chem for $1B Chevy Bolt recall losses. In this sense, we need alternative to lithium ion batteries to make EVs more affordable and sustainable.

The development of the new technology, sodium ion batteries, is just starting. However, human begins have realized innovations to improve our life in the history. Therefore, we must to pay attention to the progress of sodium ion battery.