Chinese carmaker BYD has announced that it’s battery division, FinDreams, will partner with Huaihai Holding Group to produce more affordable sodium-ion batteries for small electric vehicles.
Details of the deal remain slim as of writing, but what we know is that FinDreams will handle the production of the cheaper-to-make sodium-ion batteries, while Huaihai will oversee the sales and marketing of the cars they are put into.
For many electric carmakers, lithium has been the go to resource for their batteries thanks it its high energy density. Translated to the road, that means you can drive further on a single charge.
However, lithium-ion batteries are expensive to produce which is why many electric cars are still somewhat pricey compared to a conventional petrol- or diesel-powered car.
That’s where sodium-ion batteries come in as the resources needed to create them are far more abundant than the likes of lithium, making them far more affordable to make.
The only trade-off with them compared to lithium is range, which is why BYD wants to use them in its smaller and more affordable EVs that cater towards city driving.
BYD, the second biggest carmaker in the world behind Tesla, recently launched its pint-sized Seagull EV in China at an impressive 78,800 to 95,800 yuan ($NZ17,700 to $NZ21,520). It was was rumored to feature a sodium-ion battery but was instead fitted with a lithium-ion phosphate unit. So you can imagine how much lower that price tag would be with a sodium-ion battery.
It isn’t clear how much range the alternative battery technology will provide just yet, nor what car it’ll first make an appearance in.