World's First EVs To Ditch Lithium For Sodium Batteries Roll Off The Assembly Line

hero JAC Yiwei 3 sodium
Volkswagen-backed Chinese automaker JAC (Anhui Jianghuai Automobile) is rolling out the first mass-produced EVs running on sodium-ion batteries. This battery tech is heralded as a game-changer for lowering prices of rechargeable stationary and mobility devices, as well as decreasing the strain on the mining of lithium for lithium-ion batteries.

Sehol E10X (a.k.a. Yiwei EV)

Look out world, get ready to soon find sodium-based batteries in everything from portable power stations, electric snowmobiles, two-wheelers, and budget EVs. The first to jump onto this bandwagon is JAC's Yiwei EV, which has become the world's first mass-produced electric car with a sodium-ion power pack. Well, technically the Yiwei EV is a rebadged Sehol following a rebranding exercise after the car was announced in February this year. The photo above indicates the EV being an E10X hatchback, but the car (and battery setup) are virtually identical. 

JAC's honeycomb battery design

The 4-seater car has pretty decent specs. Based on the CarNewsChina's report on the Yiwei (which is, interestingly, the Chinese equivalent pronunciation of "EV" in English) will have a HiNa-made NaCR32140 cell with 25 kWh capacity, 120 Wh/kg energy density, around 157 miles of range, and can utilize 3C to 4C charging. Prices for the Yiwei EV haven't been officially revealed, but early estimates put the car at a very attainable 89,900–127,900 yuan (USD$12,600–17,900).

With global thirst for rechargeable batteries at an all time high, new battery development like sodium-ion packs that reduce consumer costs and environmental damage is always welcomed. Not only are Na+ batteries easier and cheaper to manufacture, they offer superior cold/winter weather performance, operating at almost full capacity in cold temperatures as low as -22 Fahrenheit (-30 degrees Celsius). Xia Shunli, chairman of Yiwei, said: “Sodium-ion batteries will become an important battery type, complementary to LFP batteries, and a low-cost solution that promotes the popularization of mass electric vehicles to masses.”

The Yiwei EV is expected to begin deliveries in January 2024. 

Photo credits: JAC