CATL Research Center China
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Is CATL Sodium-Ion Battery A Waste Of Precious Research Time?

The race for new battery technology is on. This may seem like a bash on CATL sodium-ion, but it is not. Listen to CATL and why this battery is a must-have for the future.
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Battery tech is evolving at a rapid race to that; there is no doubt. My question is, why are we not staying on one thing at a time? What I mean by that is why are we not focusing on solid-state battery tech when we are so close to getting it right?

I guess that question is best asked to CATL. Apparently, they believe a sodium-ion battery is a potential solution to the ever-growing demand for mobile power.

What Is A Sodium-Ion Battery?
A sodium-ion battery is another form of advancing battery tech that involves zero lithium, cobalt, or nickel. All of which are used in the current line of battery technology.

It is a very cost-effective battery and utilizes the 6th most common element on earth, sodium.

Why Is CATL Developing This Battery If Lithium Tech Is Better?
The demand for lithium is skyrocketing, and the sodium-ion battery would help ease the burden if there is not enough lithium around. CATL is calling this battery a "plan B."

Solid state battery make up

The demand by 2025 for lithium is expected to reach around 1.12 million tonnes for battery production alone. If we run out of lithium, what else is there?

Why This Battery Tech Is Needed Now
CATL is on the cutting edge of battery research and development. Solid-state battery technology is increasingly promising. If CATL is right and we have a lithium shortage, we will need other viable options to keep the EV trend going.

Tesla Motors has said that their lithium batteries can be 100% recycled, but when will we see the recoup of that? With more EV cars being made and the demand increasing, we must have other viable options.

Conclusion
Initially, I disagreed with CATL in this research project. I believed it was a waste of precious time, but knowing what I know now, tells me two things.

First, suppose CATL is indeed putting money into new alternative battery development. In that case, that means solid-state must be far enough along where it only needs a few minor tweaks before it becomes commercially viable.

Second, if CATL knows there is a shortage of lithium given the prediction of demand, what do other battery companies also know about it?

I feel that we should constantly evolve with battery technology and continue to find new and improved ways to power our society. The sodium-ion battery, with enough development, could be an "eco-friendly" way to power that future.

For now, I hope that what CATL and other battery companies are doing is the right thing and that we will all be able to benefit from a more cost-effective solution in the next decade.

Thank you all for reading. If you have any tips or inside information on battery technology, please let me know. Remember Today's Adventure is Tomorrow's Story.

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Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporter.


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