China's Lead in Electric Vehicle Battery Innovation Has Not Fallen an Inch - Latest Global News

China’s Lead in Electric Vehicle Battery Innovation Has Not Fallen an Inch

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Insights from Nikkei Asia, TechCrunch, CNN

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The news

The world is so far behind China in EV battery innovation that global manufacturers are struggling to keep up.

Japanese auto giant Nissan, for example, last month announced a “breakthrough” in the development of solid-state batteries – lightweight, longer-range alternatives to traditional lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.

But China had beaten them to it. In April, electric vehicle maker Nio became the first manufacturer to commercially introduce solid-state batteries in its cars, promising that they would be fully replaceable. Meanwhile, China has also opened its first large-scale sodium-ion battery energy storage station, which could pave the way for next-generation electric vehicle batteries that don’t rely on scarce, expensive lithium.

The race underscores concerns in Europe and the United States that China has little real competition in electric vehicles.

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Japan needs solid-state batteries to keep its electric vehicle sector going

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Source: Nikkei Asia

Japan’s need for rapid, large volumes of solid-state batteries for electric vehicles is “particularly urgent,” Nikkei Asia wrote, as the country – a major auto exporter – struggles to establish itself as a major player in the electric vehicle market. Several Japanese companies are pumping millions of dollars (some from the government) into research and development to speed up their production – but it may not be enough. A Japanese engineer said there is “no chance” that solid-state batteries will replace more than 10% of lithium-ion batteries by 2030.

Sodium-ion batteries could replace lead-acid batteries in gasoline-powered cars

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Source: TechCrunch

While sodium-ion batteries have the potential to significantly reduce the price of electric vehicles, some battery makers see more immediate use of their technology under the hood of traditional gas-powered vehicles, according to TechCrunch. U.S. companies like Bedrock Materials see the value of a “disruption from the bottom” approach: sodium-ion batteries aren’t good enough to replace lithium in electric vehicles, but they can replace the lead acid in typical car batteries. The strategy allows the company to improve technology and make money in the process. But here too, Chinese battery manufacturers are already years ahead in the development process.

Solid-state batteries offer greater efficiency for electric vehicles, but they are not the only option

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Sources: CNN, Harvard University

Solid-state batteries are “not the only way for automakers to develop lighter, cheaper and faster-charging electric vehicles,” CNN auto market journalist Peter Valdes-Dapena reported. Current solid-state battery designs for electric vehicles tend to conduct electricity slowly, meaning charging takes longer and rapid acceleration of the vehicle is not possible (although Harvard University researchers said they are on the cusp of a new design framework, which can be charged in just a few minutes). ). Solid-state batteries are attractive because they can be made with fewer rare earths, including lithium, but Valdes-Dapena says they currently tend to use more lithium than other electric vehicle batteries. Some automakers, like GM, see more promise in making lithium-ion batteries more efficient instead, he wrote.

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