JAC Motor, based in Hefei in China’s Anhui province, announced it had delivered electric vehicles (EVs) powered by sodium ion batteries as the automaker stepped up its switch to zero emission vehicles.

The first 10 sodium-ion powered vehicles, five-seater Huaxianzi models, were delivered to the Anqing local government in Anhui province last week.

The vehicles were developed with HiNa Battery, a company affiliated with the Institute of Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

JAC said it planned to produce more vehicles powered by sodium ion batteries which it said offer greater energy density, safety and cost advantages compared with the lithium-ion batteries widely used today.

Li Shujun, general manager of HiNa Battery, said: “Sodium-ion batteries have substantial cost, safety and sustainability advantages over conventional lithium-ion batteries”.

He said the sodium-ion batteries in the vehicles have an energy density of between 140 and 160 watt-hours per kg. The company aims to increase this to 160-180 watt-hours per kg in the next two years through “innovations and breakthroughs in battery design and materials science”.

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By GlobalData

Xia Shunli, deputy chief engineer of JAC Group, said the delivery “marks a global milestone in the industrialisation of sodium-ion batteries which are expected to play a key role in safeguarding China’s resource security in the development of new energy vehicles”.