A Chinese vehicle manufacturer is set to launch a new electric car that could significantly change the trajectory of the clean transportation sector.
According to CarNewsChina.com, the JAC Yiwei has seen models come off the production line already, and it represents the world’s first mass-produced electric vehicle powered by a sodium-ion battery rather than the conventional lithium-ion power pack.
JAC, which is backed by Volkswagen and the Chinese state, said deliveries of the vehicle will begin in January.
The first EV with a lithium-free sodium battery hits the road in January vro 😎— Cyber Villager (@cybervillager) December 28, 2023
JAC Motors, a Volkswagen-backed Chinese automaker, is set to launch the first mass-produced electric vehicle (EV) with a sodium-ion battery through its new Yiwei brand.
Dekho kitni achi information… pic.twitter.com/8yuYid3rVg
While lithium-ion batteries are denser than sodium-ion versions, meaning they can store more energy, the latter brings a number of crucial benefits.
“Sodium-ion batteries will become an important battery type, complementary to [lithium ion phosphate] batteries, and a low-cost solution that promotes the popularization of mass electric vehicles to masses,” chairman of Yiwei Xia Shunli told CarNewsChina.com.
While the cheaper production costs should make for a more affordable electric vehicle, the sodium-ion battery will also perform much better in colder conditions. Additionally, sodium is far more abundant and easier to source and extract than lithium.
It’s a promising development as the world moves away from dirty-fuel-powered cars and towards cleaner electric vehicles. The price of electric cars is one of the biggest barriers among motorists, but if the new Yiwei lives up to its potential, it could deliver a radical shift in the market.
Lithium is in high demand in the car industry, with companies investing huge sums of money to acquire the material. One such source is the Salton Sea region in California, with EnergySourceMaterials building a facility to extract the metal from geothermal brine.
But a viable, efficient battery alternative like sodium-ion could deliver an improved market with vehicle options for different budgets. With more electric cars on the road, there is a decreased need for cars powered by polluting fuels that contribute to global heating and poor air quality worldwide.
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