(Yicai Global) April 17 -- Chery Automobile will start to install Chinese battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology’s newly developed sodium batteries in its vehicles and the two parties will also team up on developing other battery types, online news outlet The Paper reported today.
Chery will use CATL’s new sodium-ion batteries in its vehicles, although it is not clear if they are the first-generation or second-generation batteries, the report said. The battery performance parameters and the autos’ battery pack capacities were not mentioned.
The two firms will also develop a new battery brand called ENER-Q which will be used in models such as Wuhu, eastern Anhui province-based Chery’s iCAR 03, it said. They will also hook up on sodium batteries, lithium iron phosphate batteries and M3P batteries.
CATL, which released its first sodium batteries 18 months ago, is keen to achieve mass production as they are a much cheaper alternative to lithium batteries, whose development is restricted by limited resources in the country. However, CATL is unlikely to produce them on a large scale until 2024 or 2025 due to a lack of raw material suppliers, a company source said.
Nevertheless, the Ningde, southeastern Fujian province-based firm remains committed to sodium battery industrialization and to building an upstream industrial chain, the report said.
Recent advances in sodium-battery technologies have helped counter the skyrocketing price of lithium batteries. The price of lithium carbonate in China has tumbled more than 60 percent to just CNY160,000 (USD23.280) per ton at the weekend from the high of CNY580,000 (USD84,404) per ton last November.
By contrast, the price of sodium carbonate is only CNY2,000 (USD290) a ton, making it sensible to promote the wide use of sodium batteries in China, Wang Yu, chief executive officer of battery maker Farasis Energy, said earlier this month.
Last year, Ganzhou, eastern Jiangxi province-based Farasis Energy made a breakthrough in the technology to produce sodium batteries, and it expects to start mass production this year, Wang said.
Other pioneers in the field include HiNa Battery Technology and Sihao New Energy who debuted their first vehicle installed with a sodium battery pack based on cellular battery technology in February.
Sodium batteries play a role in balancing battery prices and ensuring the security of lithium resources but they are unlikely to become mainstream, Ouyang Minggao, a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said at the 2023 World EV & ES Battery Conference yesterday. “But we must develop sodium batteries because they are a useful complement to lithium batteries,” he added.
CATL’s share price [SHE:300750] closed up 2.6 percent at CNY407.88 (USD59) today.
Editor: Kim Taylor