China’s battery manufacturing giant, Contemporary Amperex Technology Company Limited (CATL), which is also known for manufacturing after-market Tesla accessories, unveiled its sodium-ion battery last week. The sodium-ion (Na-ion) battery will reportedly give the traditional lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries serious competition.
Traditional Li-ion batteries do not perform well in cold environments, and the required raw materials (Lithium, Cobalt, and Nickel) are expensive. On the other hand, sodium is readily available and cheap to procure. CATL states that its Na-ion batteries have a retention rate of 90 per cent in temperatures as low as -20 °C and that the battery can be recharged in about 15 minutes at room temperature.
Li-ion batteries (such as in the Tesla Model 3) have an energy density of 260 Wh/kg. CATL added that its Na-ion batteries have an energy density of 160 Wh/kg which it aims to boost to 200 Wh/kg. It also intends to begin large-scale manufacturing of the Na-ion batteries by 2023.
The following radar chart details CATL’s projection of its Na-ion battery as compared to the Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) battery.