Electric vehicle manufacturers, grappling with escalating lithium prices, are exploring sodium-based batteries as a feasible alternative, BloombergNEF reports. This shift is anticipated to alleviate pressure on raw material resources as the demand for electric vehicles continues to rise.
BloombergNEF’s recent study predicts sodium batteries gaining traction in China’s economical car market, potentially offsetting about 272,000 tons of lithium demand by 2035, representing approximately 7% of the market. The analysts further noted that, should lithium shortages persist, a more assertive switch to sodium could be possible.
Sodium-ion batteries are highlighted as a strategic solution to the complexities of lithium’s growing supply chain. The projected market share of sodium-ion might appear minimal initially; however, the absolute growth is significant due to the overall market expansion.
Sodium, readily available in rock salts and brines globally, has not been as efficient as other battery metals in the past. However, China’s rollout of affordable EVs using sodium-based cells may be a game-changer for the technology.
While full-scale commercialisation could be a few years down the line, the potential of sodium-based batteries has instigated a broad conversation about their likelihood to mitigate lithium shortages due to the continued surge in EV demand.
An extreme scenario suggests that should lithium miners struggle to meet the burgeoning consumption, the mass car market’s switch to sodium could reduce lithium demand by 37%, approximately 1.4 million tons, by 2035. Such a transition would necessitate a significant overhaul of the supply chain, comparable to the swift adoption of low-cost lithium-iron-phosphate batteries in response to escalating raw material costs.
As supply and demand for battery metals expand rapidly, forecasting the industry’s growth trajectory proves to be a challenge. Technological breakthroughs in battery chemistry and extraction methods could significantly influence the market dynamics in the coming years.
The potential success of sodium-ion batteries is becoming more apparent, prompting consumers to decide their stand in this evolving scenario.
This news is based on a report by The Star.