Niu to debut two-wheeler with sodium-ion batteries in 2023
The Chinese manufacturer Niu plans to launch its first electric two-wheeler with a sodium-ion battery next year. The manufacturer appears to put battery cost over concerns with weight.
Niu CEO Li Yan told Chinese media, that Niu wants to keep costs under control in the face of rising lithium-ion battery prices. Sodium-ion batteries are heavier than lithium batteries for the same range but cheaper.
Niu had already increased the sales price of its batteries by seven per cent as of April, which was also justified by the rising costs. Driven by the price trend, the e-two-wheeler manufacturer has also explored changes to the battery pack itself.
More worryingly, there’s also a trend to go back to lead-acid batteries – an extremely poisonous option. Li however said lead-acid batteries increased the quality and service life of such cells. As a result, Niu already offers a nano-graphene lead-acid battery in some models. Further testing has taken place with lithium manganese iron phosphate (LMFP) batteries.
Li did not specify who will supply the sodium-ion cells to Niu or elaborated on the specifications. However, Niu primarily operates within the competitive Chinese market for low-price two-wheelers such as e-bikes and scooters. According to a plan released earlier this year, the firm expected to sell up to 1.5 million vehicles in China and 300,000 LEVs in overseas markets. Niu had debuted its portfolio at EICMA in Milan, Italy last year as reported.
As for Na-ion batteries, CATL reportedly announced a sodium-ion battery in 2021 and said production would start in 2023. We have described the advantages, disadvantages and possible applications of sodium-ion batteries in this article. CATL also envisions mixed battery scenarios.
Sodium-ion batteries may not replace lithium-ion batteries in larger applications but may replace lead-acid batteries in LEVs in the future, a Guosen Securities report said, according to the CNEV Post.
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