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Working First-Gen Sodium-Ion Battery Unveiled by Tesla Supplier

As the world is now rapidly moving toward the complete electrification of its transportation solutions, the need for alternative means of storing power increases. To date, most electric cars (and pretty much all devices) use lithium-ion batteries, but if we are to trust Chinese company Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL), that might change soon.
CATL sodium-ion battery 4 photos
CATL sodium-ion batteryCATL sodium-ion batteryCATL sodium-ion battery
During an online event held this week, the company gave the world the first details on its first-generation sodium-ion battery, one that could “provide a new solution for the use of clean energy and transportation electrification.” And it has big plans for it.

Sodium-ion batteries are not unlike lithium-ion ones in terms of design and working principle, only they use sodium-ions as the charge carries. A proper, working battery using them has been difficult to make so far on account of several reasons, but the Chinese claim to have done it.

The CATL battery promises to come with “high-energy density, fast-charging capability, excellent thermal stability, great low-temperature performance and high-integration efficiency.”

It is being advertised as perfect for use in low-temperature environments (minus 20 degrees Celsius/minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit), where it’s said to have a capacity retention rate of more than 90 percent.

At room temperature, the battery (no specific details on size were provided) is said to be able to reach 80 percent state of charge in 15 minutes (again, no details on charging solution were given).

The battery presented by CATL now has a 160Wh/kg energy density (not that great, compared with what else is out there), but the company says it plans that future designs to exceed to exceed 200Wh/kg.

Going further, CATL came up with a solution to integrate sodium-ion cells and lithium-ion cells into one pack (full details unavailable), and says manufacturing the new solution should not require significant changes to current lithium-ion production lines.

Plans are to create a basic industrial chain for the production of these new batteries by 2023.

press release

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