According to public information, Chaona New Energy was established in August 2021, and is a manufacturer of sodium-ion batteries. The company independently researches and developes key materials for sodium-ion batteries, featuring low cost, long life, high safety and high energy density products. The products can be used in low-speed electric vehicles, large-scale energy storage, electric vehicles and other fields.
This is not the first time that Meituan has invested in the power battery field. According to a report by Chinese domestic media outlet Value Planet, Sunwoda, a leading lithium-ion battery company in China, on August 25 disclosed a convertible bond loan and related party transactions of its subsidiary, Sunwoda Electric Vehicle Battery Co., Ltd. (Sunwoda EVB). Meituan appeared on the list of investors.
In the field of automobiles and travel, since the beginning of 2022, Meituan has made three deals. In February, Meituan followed the $188-million-yuan round-B+ financing of Inceptio Technology, an automated driving truck technology and operations company. In April, Meituan led investment in a round-C+ financing worth $80 million for VisionNav Robotics. In August, the firm led Sunwoda EVB’s round-A financing.
Compared with lithium batteries, which are in the limelight, sodium-ion batteries are getting more attention. In June 2021, power battery giant CATL released its first generation of sodium-ion batteries. The company said that the energy density of the new product’s battery cell reached 160Wh/kg, which was the highest level in the world at that time. Charging for 15 minutes at normal temperature, it can reach an 80% charge. While with lower temperatures at around -20°C, its discharge retention rate is still over 90%.
At present, many power battery giants have begun to lay out sodium-ion batteries. On December 1, a spokesperson for EVE Energy announced that a team in the company had been researching and developing sodium-ion batteries over the last five years, and a new generation of sodium-ion batteries will be released in the middle of this month. On December 2, Gotion Hi-Tech also stated that the company is developing and applying technologies related to sodium-ion batteries, and is also developing sodium-ion battery samples.
BYD, which ranks second in terms of installed power battery capacity in China, has not denied the fact that it is developing sodium-ion batteries, although it claims that the reports about its realization of installed sodium-ion battery capacity in the second quarter of next year were just rumors. Industry insiders have said that BYD’s sodium-ion batteries may still be in the testing stage.