JAC Group’s Yiwei, a new EV brand in China backed by Volkswagen, debuted the first sodium-ion battery-powered electric car. The new JAC Yiwei EV rolled off the assembly line Wednesday.
Yiwei is a new EV maker under the JAC Group. It was established earlier this year. Volkswagen owns 50% of JAC’s parent company; the other 50% is state-owned.
Volkswagen invested 1 billion euros for a 50% stake in JAC Group in 2021. The German automaker also took full control of management of its existing EV joint venture with a 75% stake.
The new EV features sodium-ion cylindrical cells from HiNa Battery. The Beijing-based tech company is affiliated with the Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
It will use JAC’s UE module tech, a honey-comb battery structure. JAC’s UE is similar to BYD’s Blade battery, which is used in Toyota, Kia, and Ford EVs. It can also be compared to CATL’s CTP (cell-to-pack) technology.
Deliveries of the new sodium battery-powered Yiwei electric vehicle are expected to begin next month.
First sodium-ion battery-powered EV rolls out
JAC introduced the Yiwei 3, the first EV powered by a sodium-ion battery, at the Shanghai Auto Show in February. However, the model launched with an LFP battery, with JAC promising a sodium-ion version was coming.
The automaker also revealed the sodium-ion-battery-powered Sehol E10X, featuring 25 kWh of capacity and 120 Wh/kg of energy density. With 3C to 4C charging, the electric hatchback could recharge from 10% to 80% in 20 minutes.
Volkswagen transferred the Sehol brand to JAC in 2021. Earlier this year, JAC said all vehicles would wear either a JAC or Yiwei badge.
Although sodium-ion batteries have a lower energy density than lithium-ion ones, they do offer several advantages. According to JAC, they have better low-temperature performance, faster charging speeds, longer lifespans, and increased durability over time.
Perhaps most importantly, the batteries use cheaper raw materials, which can enable lower EV prices.
“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,” said the chairman of Yiwei Tech, Xia Shunli.
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