Sodium-Ion Battery Powered EV starts mass production in China

Volkswagen-backed JAC Yiwei being the world’s first mass-produced EV powered by sodium-ion battery. JAC announced that model called delivery will begin in Janaury 2024.

The Yiwei EV hatchback will have a cylindrical sodium-ion pack from Beijing-based HiNa Battery and adopt JAC’s UE (Unitized Encapsulation) module technology. UE is also known as a honeycomb design because of its appearance. It is another battery structure concept like CATL’s CTP (cell-to-pack) or BYD’s Blade battery.

Yiwei is a new EV brand under Anhui Jianghuai Automobile (JAC), established in 2023. JAC’s parent company, Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group Holdings (JAG), is 50% state-owned, and 50% belongs to Volkswagen Group. The German automotive giant acquired its stake in 2020 in an unprecedented move to invest in China’s state-owned car maker.

JAC hasn’t yet confirmed the name of the new car under the Yiwei brand; it could be Yiwei E10X, but we have to wait for JAC’s confirmation.

JAC recently pushed a lot into sodium-ion batteries R&D. During the Shanghai Auto Show in April 2023, the company showcased its first car under the Yiwei brand called Yiwei 3, which was equipped with a sodium-ion battery.

The Yiwei 3 is a compact hatchback that competes with Wuling Bingo, BYD Seagull, or ORA Funky Cat. It has two power train options, both front-wheel drive: 70 kW and 100 kW motor. The maximum cruising range is 505 km CLTC with a 51.5 kWh battery.

Sodium-ion batteries are expected to play an essential role in the battery mix in the future. Their best-case use is stationary energy storage, two-wheelers, and entry-level EVs. They are cheaper than LFP, don’t need lithium, and perform better in winter conditions. On the other hand, they have lower energy density. In China, many automakers are pushing into sodium-ion development.

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