BYD starts building sodium battery plant in China

BYD has started construction of its first factory for sodium-ion batteries in China. The factory in Xuzhou in Jiangsu province is designed for an annual production capacity of 30 gigawatt-hours. The start of construction follows just a few weeks after the official announcement of the project.

Image: BYD

According to Chinese media reports, the ground-breaking ceremony took place on 4 January. This is according to a post by the Xuzhou government on the social media platform WeChat. BYD’s production facility for sodium-ion batteries is reportedly being built in cooperation with Huaihai in the Xuzhou Economic and Technological Development Zone. The total investment in the project is estimated at 10 billion yuan – the equivalent of almost 1.4 billion euros.

It was only in November that BYD’s battery subsidiary FinDreams and the Huaihai Holding Group signed a contract for the construction of the plant. The planned production capacity of 30 GWh per year was publicised at the time, but no timetable was set at the time. According to CNEVPost, Huaihai was founded in 1976 and is active in the fields of small vehicles, electric vehicles, parts and components as well as financial services. On its website, the company mainly offers two- and three-wheeled electric vehicles.

Sodium-ion batteries are a technology that has re-emerged in recent years and would bring a clear cost reduction in the electric car sector. After all, the low-cost sodium replaces lithium, which has now become very expensive. However, there is a downside: sodium-ion batteries are known to have a lower energy density. In China, the battery giant CATL is planning to produce sodium-ion cells from 2023, which is why experts have been putting in the time to assess the advantages, disadvantages and potential of the technology.

In China, the big players are turning to sodium-ion battery technology one after the other: CATL, for example, is also planning to produce sodium-ion cells. The Chinese startup Zoolnasm is also planning to produce sodium-ion cells from 2024, and the first two small electric cars with sodium-ion batteries recently went into production in China. These are two small car models. One rolls off the production line at JAC under the Yiwei brand and the other at Jiangling Motors Electric Vehicle (JMEV).

In Europe, only the Swedish battery cell manufacturer Northvolt has announced its entry into the sodium-ion battery business.


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