Electric car sales rose by 13 per cent last year and the price of lithium – for lithium-ion batteries – roughly tripled in the year to November as a result. No wonder battery chemists have been looking hard for an alternative. Sodium-ion batteries are one. They’ve been around for half a century, rejected in favour of Li-ion for being less energy-dense and so bulkier and heavier. But the MIT Technology Review reports this hasn’t deterred Chinese manufacturers building EVs en masse for workers with short commutes who don’t care if their battery packs take up a bit more space under their feet, especially if they’re cheap. Sodium-ion batteries get their sodium from salt, and China’s JAC Motors could bring the world’s first sodium-ion powered car to market this year, with a range of 155 miles.
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