Sodium-ion batteries deployed in China with Renault partner
Chinese battery manufacturer Farasis Energy will soon begin supplying Jiangling Motors Electric Vehicle (JMEV), which is majority owned by Renault, with Na-ion battery packs for the EV3 small electric car.
In August last year, Renault partner Farasis Energy announced plans for a new factory in Ganzhou, Jiangxi province, targeting a final annual capacity of 30 GWh. The company now says it has already converted some ternary lithium battery production lines at this plant into sodium-ion battery production lines, which means it will now be able to supply JMEV in order for the carmaker to start mass production of the EV3 by June 30.
The use of sodium-ion batteries in Chinese electric cars is picking up speed. Just a few days ago, Hina Battery began producing sodium-ion cells on a test basis for a small electric car from Sehol, a joint venture brand of JAC and Volkswagen Anhui. The relatively unknown battery manufacturer Hina Battery has presented three sodium-ion battery cell types.
Late last year, Chinese automotive giant BYD was rumoured to want to start mass production of sodium-ion batteries for electric cars. Although BYD refuted these rumours, in January this year, the carmaker announced a small, affordable electric car for the equivalent of around 8,200 to 13,700 euros (or $8,860 – $14,770 US). Sodium-ion batteries are cheaper to make than lithium-ion batteries, but generally have lower energy density and are mostly used in stationary battery storage applications and micromobility solutions. Niu has announced a two-wheeler with Sodium-ion batteries for this year. In July 2021, the Chinese battery giant CATL presented the first generation of a sodium-ion battery and announced that it would establish a supply chain for the new technology by 2023.
In May last year, we reported that Sodium-ion batteries were moving forward in Sweden, where Altris announced its first industrial-scale cathode material production facility. Over in the USA, a project for the production of sodium-ion batteries is also becoming concrete with the collaboration of Natron Energy and Clarios.
Now that Farasis is producing sodium-ion batteries on an industrial scale for small vehicles in China, it will be interesting to see when majority owner Renault is planning to deploy these in small city vehicles.