Electric vehicle manufacturer BYD is moving towards developing sodium-ion batteries as an alternative to lithium batteries. They have entered into a strategic cooperation agreement with Huaihai Holding Group to create a joint venture in Xuzhou, China, for manufacturing sodium-ion batteries.
Driving Demand for Mini-Vehicle Batteries
The partnership between Huaihai and BYD’s battery unit, FinDreams, aims to establish the world’s largest supplier of sodium battery systems for micro vehicles. Huaihai brings its resources, including markets and application scenarios, while FinDreams provides the products and services.
Huaihai has been involved in the sodium battery industry for some time through a strategic investment in Natrium, a sodium-ion battery startup. The joint venture between Huaihai and FinDreams will boost the demand for mini-vehicle batteries globally, with a specific focus on Xuzhou.
However, although there have been rumors about BYD’s sodium-ion battery entering mass production in 2023, the company has not yet confirmed these speculations. Presently, the Seagull model by BYD does not come equipped with a sodium battery option.
Cost Advantage over Lithium-ion Batteries
Sodium-ion batteries are a more affordable alternative to lithium-ion batteries, and sodium resources are widely available. However, they currently have a lower capacity for storing energy. With the decrease in lithium prices in recent months, the cost advantage of sodium-ion batteries has diminished. According to a report by the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA), automakers are less inclined to adopt sodium-ion batteries in the near future, especially considering the rapidly declining cost of lithium iron phosphate batteries.
Joint Venture’s Significance for BYD
BYD’s collaboration with Huaihai marks a notable milestone as they venture into sodium-ion battery manufacturing. Despite sodium-ion technology being in its developmental stages, the joint effort seeks to capitalize on the potential benefits of sodium-ion batteries and drive progress in the electric vehicle sector.