You are here
Home > Other news >

Sodium Battery Scooter

Could sodium-lithium batteries offer a viable alternative to the ubiquitous lithium-ion (li-ion) for electric motorcycles and scooters? Supporters say the chemistry, which has been around for about the same time as li-ion, is cheaper than lithium, with more abundant raw materials (sodium can be extracted from sea water), better performance at low temperatures and non-flammable into the bargain.

For once, this isn’t a ‘maybe next decade’ technology story. CATL, the world’s biggest manufacturer of electric vehicle batteries, will be launching a sodium-ion battery in 2023, while NIU will begin production of a sodium battery scooter the same year. In July 2022, the US Department of Energy’s research lab revealed what it termed a breakthrough in sodium-lithium technology, with a new electrolyte recipe improving the battery’s charge cycle life.

Sodium-ion is not a silver bullet of battery technology, as energy density remains lower than that of lithium-ion, so it might not be suitable for big motorcycles, but for cheaper two-wheelers which can cope with a lower range, it could be a viable solution, especially given its lower cost. CATL also claims much faster charging, with a 0-80% charge in 15 minutes (though it doesn’t specify the size of battery).

BMF Chair Jim Freeman is keeping an open mind on the various technologies which could take over from fossil fuels: “This demonstrates, again, that the speed of change is incredible, with decades of development being compressed into years. Normally it takes a war to push technology this fast, actually, maybe that’s what’s happening, indirectly? All the most developed economies are reaching a common conclusion, that being dependent on fossil fuels makes us hostages to some very dangerous regimes, Putin obviously, but think about some of the others? Iran, Iraq, Saudi, Kuwait, Venezuela, Libya, the list goes on. Freedom means freedom from dangerous, despotic regimes, who can turn the taps off. That’s my thought for the day, anyway!”

Written by Peter Henshaw

Images courtesy of MCN