The sodium-ion battery is the subject of an international race between many market players who are fighting hard to be the first to market this promising technology. And it was Renault who crossed the finish line first.
Sodium-ion batteries are an excellent alternative to their lithium-ion counterparts for multiple reasons. Indeed, sodium is much more abundant than lithium, since it is found in 2.6% of the earth’s crust against 0.06%. Moreover, it is much better distributed throughout the planet, for example in sea water in the form of sodium chloride, when lithium is concentrated in specific regions, such as Argentina, Bolivia or Chile, which together combine two-thirds of the world’s resources. And who says greater quantity available everywhere and easily accessible automatically leads to lower production costs and pollution linked to extraction. The only brake so far, an energy density that was not up to that of lithium-ion batteries.
But progress is being made month by month, to the point now of arriving at the same time as the end of its development on several continents. And it is Renault that now seems to be leading the race through Jiangling Motors Electric Vehicle (JMEV), a Chinese joint venture in which the diamond brand is the majority shareholder, and its partner Farasis Energy.
The latter, a battery producer, indeed announced last August its intention to build a new factory in Ganzhou with an annual capacity target of 30 GWh, something which has now been achieved, which means that it is ready to supply JMEV to allow it to begin full-scale production of the EV3 from June 30. This 3.70 m city car will be powered by a 48 hp and 150 Nm motor powered by a 32 kWh Na-ion battery, giving it a range of 302 km according to Chinese standards.
Once this production has started at an industrial level, everything suggests that Renault will reuse this technology on other models, under its brand or another. Dacia maybe?
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