Electric car equipped with sodium-ion battery unveiled

Chinese scientists have unveiled an electric vehicle powered by a sodium-ion battery, marking a milestone in the commercialisation of the emerging technology in the electric vehicle market.

The car is called Hua Xianzi (flower fairy), and was presented during China's second national conference on sodium-ion batteries. It was developed by HiNa Battery, a high-tech company affiliated with the Institute of Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The Hua Xianzi is a particularly small city car with a sodium-ion battery with a density of 140 Wh/kg and a capacity of 25 kWh. Enough to travel up to 250 km.

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Goodbye lithium?
Hua Xianzi is the world's first electric vehicle powered by a 'salt' battery. The new chemistry could revolutionise the electric vehicle industry because it is much cheaper than lithium-ion.
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The differences
Although sodium-ion batteries have a lower energy density than lithium-ion batteries, they have other advantages, such as better low-temperature performance, faster charging speed, and longer service life. They are also less prone to overheating and therefore safer. Their low energy density made them more suitable for static storage.
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The battery of Hua Xianzi
The battery that powers the Hua Xianzi has a lower energy density (140 wH per kg) but costs between 30 and 50 per cent less than one of equivalent lithium-ion capacity. Therefore, HiNa Battery Technology claims that the overall cost of an electric vehicle could be reduced by 10%. The price of the Hua Xianzi, however, has not yet been revealed.
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Some data
The battery of the Hua Xianzi demonstration car has a total energy capacity of 25 kWh and the vehicle can travel up to 250 km per charge. The scarcity and cost of lithium has been a long-standing challenge in the battery industry. Companies around the world have spent years searching for an alternative, and sodium-ion battery technology has emerged as one of the most promising candidates.
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The future?
China currently imports 70 per cent of its lithium and the development of China's electric vehicle industry may suffer due to the limited supply of the metal and the recent increase in its price, according to a report by Guotai Junan Securities. Li Shujun, general manager of HiNa Battery, said the company will facilitate the application of the sodium-ion battery in various electric vehicles and electricity storage infrastructure.
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