At a Thursday afternoon online press conference, Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL), a Chinese battery manufacturer, officially released its first generation of sodium-ion batteries and battery packs that integrate sodium-ion and lithium-ion batteries.
The new batteries will be mainly used in energy storage systems and two-wheeled vehicles, and will serve as a supplement to lithium-ion batteries. CATL’s business progress and valuation have become some of the industry’s key bellwethers for development and investment.
The sodium-ion battery technology has matured and will be released in July, CATL’s chairman, Zeng Yuqun, said at a shareholders’ meeting in May earlier this year.
“We have begun commercial cooperation of the first-generation sodium-ion batteries with car makers and energy storage companies,” a head of a relevant division of CATL told Securities Daily, adding that sodium-ion batteries have unique advantages and different application scenarios, and will coexist with and complement lithium-ion batteries.
According to industry insiders, the rising price of raw materials for lithium batteries has imposed great pressure on the rapidly-developing power battery makers. About 70% of the world’s lithium resources are concentrated in South America, while 80% of China’s lithium supply depends on imports. In order to solve the problem, some enterprises have turned their attention to sodium batteries.
The primary reason why sodium-ion batteries tend to be favored is lithium, which accounts for just 0.0065% of the crustal element reserves, shares a close chemical resemblance to sodium, which accounts for 2.64% of the total reserves. Furthermore, sodium is less difficult and cheaper to mine. In addition, the two kinds of batteries are also highly similar in terms of their basic architecture and packaging processes, which means that lithium battery factories can directly produce sodium-ion batteries without major changes to assembly lines. In addition, sodium-ion batteries have obvious advantages in safety, charging speed and low temperature tolerance.
Thanks to this good news, CATL’s share price closed at 556.80 yuan per share on July 29, an increase of 6.05%, with a market value of 1.30 trillion yuan. At the same time, the sodium-ion battery sector also ushered in an overall surge.