Battery Maker Develops Futuristic Cobalt-Free Cell for Electric Cars
(Bloomberg) — Swedish battery-maker Northvolt AB has developed its first sodium-ion product, a technology that could cut reliance on scarce raw materials and lay the foundation for the company’s next generation of electric-car batteries.
The cell has a “best-in-class” energy density of more than 160 watt-hours per kilogram, and was made without any lithium, nickel, cobalt or graphite, the company said Tuesday. While the first sodium-ion cells are designed primarily for energy storage, coming generations may be able to deliver higher energy density for electric mobility.
“Our sodium-ion technology delivers the performance required to enable energy storage with longer duration than alternative battery chemistries, at a lower cost,” Chief Executive Officer Peter Carlsson said in a statement.
Battery makers are racing to commercialize new technologies, including next-generation anodes, solid-state and sodium-ion batteries, to power EVs more cheaply and efficiently. Chinese EV maker BYD Co.’s subsidiary announced a joint venture over the weekend to co-build a sodium-ion battery facility in the eastern Chinese city of Xuzhou.
Read More: EV Battery Makers Test a Future Without Lithium
Northvolt’s new product, which is based on a hard carbon anode and high-sodium Prussian white cathode, is more cost-effective and sustainable than conventional batteries made with nickel, manganese, cobalt or iron phosphate, according to the company. And with better safety at high temperatures, Northvolt sees it as especially attractive for energy storage in markets such as India, the Middle East and Africa.
The company — Europe’s only major homegrown battery maker — is expanding EV battery production in Sweden and has plans to build factories in Germany and Canada. It has so far raised more than $9 billion in equity and debt, bolstered by more than $55 billion in orders from automotive clients including BMW, Volvo Cars, Polestar and Volkswagen. Northvolt has said it plans to eventually go public.
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.