Sodium-ion Battery Shipments 2024: Falling Short of Expectations

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Sodium-ion batteries have been hailed as a promising alternative to lithium-ion batteries, primarily due to their cost advantages and the abundant availability of sodium. However, recent data indicates that their actual shipment volumes have fallen short of expectations, raising questions about their current and future role in the battery market.

2023 Sodium-ion Battery Shipments

Recent research from EVTank has revealed that the actual shipment volume of sodium-ion batteries in China for 2023 was only 0.7 GWh, significantly below the forecasted 3 GWh. This shortfall highlights the sodium-ion battery industry’s challenges and underscores the need for further technological and economic improvements.

In China, several sodium-ion battery companies have emerged as leaders in sodium-ion battery shipments in 2023, including:

– HiNa Battery Technology
– Veken Technology
– CATL
– BYD
– Transimge Technology

 

These companies have been at the forefront of developing and supplying sodium-ion batteries, contributing to the industry’s overall growth.

CATL sodium-ion battery

Major Application of Sodium-ion Batteries

Energy Storage

The energy storage sector was the largest market for sodium-ion batteries in 2023, accounting for up to 60% of total shipments. Sodium-ion batteries are well-suited for energy storage applications due to their cost-effectiveness and stable performance, making them an attractive option for grid energy storage systems.

 

Electric Two-Wheelers

Following energy storage, electric two-wheelers represented a significant market for sodium-ion batteries. These batteries offer a reliable and affordable power source for electric bikes and scooters, contributing to sustainable urban mobility.

 

Electric Vehicles (EVs)

In the EVs sector, companies like CATL, HiNa Battery, and Farasis Energy began mass production and supply of sodium-ion batteries in 2023. Although the market share for EVs is smaller compared to energy storage and electric two-wheelers, the potential for growth remains substantial as technological advancements continue.

Reasons for Lower-than-Expected Shipment

EVTank’s analysis suggests that the lower-than-expected shipment volumes are due to the unachieved cost advantage of sodium-ion batteries. Despite the promise of lower costs, the average price of sodium-ion batteries remains higher than that of competing products such as NCM batteries, LFP batteries, and lead-acid batteries.

How to Reduce Sodium-ion Battery Costs?

To improve competitiveness, companies within the sodium-ion battery industry need to focus on cost-reduction strategies such as:

Reducing Raw Material Costs: Leveraging cheaper and more abundant materials.

Achieving Economies of Scale: Scaling up production to lower per-unit costs.

Advancing Technology: Investing in research and development to enhance performance and reduce manufacturing costs.

Current State of Sodium-ion Battery Industrialization in China

The industrialization of sodium-ion batteries in China has been marked by a notable increase in shipment volumes and market interest. Despite the challenges, advancements in sodium-ion technology have positioned these batteries as a viable alternative to traditional lithium-ion batteries.

What is Sodium-ion Batteries?

A sodium-ion battery (NIB) is a type of rechargeable battery that uses sodium ions (Na+) as the charge carriers. These batteries function similarly to lithium-ion batteries, involving the transfer of sodium ions between the cathode and anode during charging and discharging cycles.

Classification of Sodium-ion Batteries

 

Sodium-ion batteries can be classified based on their cathode materials:

– Layered Transition Metal Oxides (NaxMO2)
– Polyanionic Compounds ((NaxMy[(XOm)n-]z)
– Prussian blue analogs (NaxMa [Mb (CN) 6])

Key Parameters of Sodium-ion Batteries

  • Energy Density

 

Sodium-ion batteries typically have an energy density of 100-160 Wh/kg, which is lower than lithium-ion batteries but sufficient for applications like energy storage and low-speed electric vehicles.

  • Cycle Life

 

The cycle life of sodium-ion batteries is around 2000-3000 cycles, making them competitive for stationary energy storage applications where longevity is crucial.

  • Rate Performance

 

Sodium-ion batteries exhibit good rate performance with charging times comparable to lithium-ion batteries, suitable for applications such as electric two/three-wheelers and energy storage systems.

  • Thermal Stability

Excellent thermal stability reduces the risk of thermal runaway.

  • Cost Efficiency

The use of abundant and low-cost materials makes sodium-ion batteries economically attractive.

  • Environmental Impact

Sodium-ion batteries are more environmentally friendly due to non-toxic and widely available materials.

What are the disadvantages of a sodium-ion battery?

  • Lower Energy Density: Sodium-ion batteries generally have a lower energy density compared to lithium-ion batteries, meaning they store less energy for a given size or weight.
  • Shorter Lifespan: These batteries tend to have a shorter cycle life, meaning they can be charged and discharged fewer times before their performance degrades.
  • Limited Commercial Availability: Sodium-ion batteries are not as widely available or commercially developed as lithium-ion batteries, leading to fewer options for consumers and industries.
  • Performance Issues at Low Temperatures: Sodium-ion batteries often perform poorly in low-temperature environments, which can limit their usability in certain applications.
  • Larger and Heavier: Due to the lower energy density, sodium-ion batteries tend to be larger and heavier than their lithium-ion counterparts for the same energy capacity.
  • Slower Charging Rates: They may have slower charging rates compared to lithium-ion batteries, which can be a drawback for applications requiring rapid recharging.
  • Infrastructure and Supply Chain: The supply chain and infrastructure for sodium-ion batteries are less developed, which can result in higher costs and logistical challenges.

sodium-ion battery_development

Cost of Sodium-ion Battery

BOM Costs

The Bill of Materials (BOM) for sodium-ion batteries includes the cost of raw materials like sodium salts, cathode and anode materials, electrolytes, and battery separators. These materials are generally cheaper than those used in lithium-ion batteries.

Manufacturing Costs

Manufacturing costs for sodium-ion batteries are lower due to the simpler processing and handling of materials, allowing manufacturers to leverage existing facilities with minimal adjustments.

Other Costs

Operational Costs: Lower due to reduced material handling risks and fewer safety concerns.
Maintenance Costs: Sodium-ion batteries require less maintenance compared to other battery technologies.
Recycling Costs: Easier and cheaper to recycle, reducing overall lifecycle costs.

Considering total costs, including BOM, manufacturing, operational, and recycling costs, sodium-ion batteries are highly competitive. Their lower initial investment and operational costs make them an attractive option for large-scale applications.

Potential Application for Sodium-ion Batteries

  • Two/Three-wheelers Electric Vehicles
  • Low-speed Electric Vehicles (LSEVs)
  • Energy Storage
  • Electrical Vehicles (EVs)

Sodium-ion Batteries for Two/Three-wheelers Electric Vehicles

Sodium-ion batteries are increasingly seen as a viable option for powering two/three-wheeler electric vehicles. There is growing interest in sodium-ion batteries due to their potential to meet the demand for low-cost chemistries in markets such as two/three-wheeler vehicles. This is particularly relevant in urban settings where smaller electric vehicles are prevalent.

The global sodium-ion battery market is expected to grow significantly. Forecasts indicate substantial expansion, driven by applications including electric vehicles. China, for instance, aims to mass-produce sodium-ion batteries by 2025, targeting two-wheelers among other sectors.

Pain Points of Two/Three-wheeler Electric Vehicles Batteries

Key pain points of electric motorcycle batteries include high battery costs, limited cycle life, and safety concerns. Sodium-ion batteries address these issues with lower costs, and enhanced safety features.

Supply status of Sodium-ion batteries in Two/three-wheeler electric Vehicles Sector

Despite sodium-ion batteries are gaining traction due to their competitive advantages. The current supply situation of Sodium-ion batteries is characterized by emerging development and limited production capacity. Currently, the market is still dominated by lithium-ion batteries.


Production Scale: Mainly pilot plants are operational, with forecasts suggesting production could exceed 100 GWh by 2030.

 

Market Adoption: Sodium-ion batteries are positioned as a potential alternative to lithium-ion, though their market penetration remains limited compared to lithium-ion batteries.

 

Supply Chain: The supply chain for sodium-ion batteries is less mature compared to lithium-ion, impacting their current cost and availability.

 

Cost Considerations: Sodium-ion batteries currently face higher manufacturing costs due to limited production volumes and supply chain challenges.

Sodium-ion Batteries for Low-speed Electric Vehicles (LSEVs)

The market forecast for sodium-ion batteries in the field of Low-speed Electric Vehicles appears promising, driven by the increasing adoption of both LSEVs and sodium-ion battery technology.

Low-speed electric vehicles (LSEVs) are also on the rise, with the market expected to reach $8.48 billion by 2030.

Integration of sodium-ion batteries into LSEVs aligns with the overall growth trend of sodium-ion battery adoption, particularly in applications where cost-effectiveness and safety are prioritized.

Pain Points of LSEVs Battery

LSEV batteries face challenges such as high costs, limited range, and safety issues.

A limited driving range is a significant concern, affecting the practicality and usability of electric vehicles.

High maintenance costs associated with electric vehicle batteries contribute to overall ownership expenses.

Low Speed Electric vehicles (LSEVs), including two and three-wheelers, face several safety challenges related to their batteries, such as fire risks, leak of toxic materials, and safety incidents caused by overheating and overcharging.

Sodium-ion batteries mitigate these problems with their lower cost and enhanced safety features.

Sodium-ion batteries Supply Status in Low Speed Electric vehicles Sector

Currently, sodium-ion batteries are emerging as a promising alternative to lithium-ion batteries, particularly in applications like low-speed electric vehicles (EVs). However, the LSEV market is currently dominated by lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries.

Sodium-ion batteries are gaining attention due to a balanced demand-supply scenario compared to the strained lithium market. This indicates potential availability for integrating them into various technologies, including low-speed EVs.

While sodium-ion batteries generally offer lower energy density than their lithium-ion counterparts, advancements are being made to improve their efficiency and competitiveness. Their scalability and lower cost could make them suitable for specific EV applications where rapid charging or high energy density is less critical.

Significant strides have been made in the industrialization of sodium-ion battery technology, with ongoing research focusing on enhancing their energy storage capabilities. This progress suggests a growing feasibility for integrating sodium-ion batteries into various automotive applications, including low-speed EVs.

Sodium-ion batteries may not yet match the energy density of lithium-ion batteries, their balanced supply chain and ongoing technological advancements make them a viable alternative for low-speed electric vehicles and other specialized applications in the near future.

Sodium-ion Batteries for Energy Storage

The energy storage market is one of the largest potential markets for sodium-ion batteries, driven by the need for cost-effective and safe energy storage solutions. Market forecasts for sodium-ion batteries in the energy storage field indicate significant growth:


The global sodium-ion battery market was valued at USD 77 million in 2023 and is projected to reach USD 40550 million by 2030, with a substantial CAGR. This growth underscores the increasing adoption of sodium-ion batteries in energy storage applications.

From 2024 to 2030, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of sodium battery shipments is estimated to be 58.1%, highlighting rapid expansion.

Analysts expect sodium-ion batteries to play a crucial role in renewable energy storage due to their potential to complement or replace lithium-ion batteries in certain applications.

Pain Points of Energy Storage Batteries

Safety Concerns: Lithium-ion batteries pose risks of thermal runaway and fires, particularly in large-scale energy storage applications.

 

Cost Challenges: Initial investment and operational costs can be high, impacting the economic viability of energy storage projects.

 

Limited Lifespan: Batteries degrade over time, reducing their effectiveness and necessitating replacement.

 

Energy storage systems require batteries with long life, high safety, and low cost. Sodium-ion batteries meet these requirements, making them ideal for this application.

Sodium-ion batteries Supply Status in Energy Storage Sector

Sodium-ion batteries are gaining traction in the energy storage sector. However, as of 2024, sodium-ion batteries are mainly used in stationary storage, complementing rather than replacing lithium-ion batteries, which dominate high-performance applications.

Sodium-ion batteries are emerging as a viable alternative for stationary storage applications due to their potential cost-effectiveness and availability. The sodium-ion market appears balanced with demand, indicating steady growth potential amidst a lithium supply deficit.

In summary, sodium-ion batteries are positioned as a complementary technology in energy storage, focusing on cost-effective stationary applications rather than high-performance uses dominated by lithium-ion batteries.

Sodium-ion Batteries for Electrical Vehicles (EVs)

Electric vehicles (EVs) generally need high energy density batteries, but sodium-ion batteries have potential in segments like low-cost and entry-level models.

Based on current market insights:

The global sodium-ion battery market was valued at approximately USD 321.75 million in 2023 and is projected to grow significantly. By 2030, it is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.3%.

Given the broader context of EV battery markets, the market value of sodium-ion batteries is projected to reach USD 508.8 billion by 2033, sodium-ion batteries are likely to capture a niche market share, driven by their potential advantages such as cost-effectiveness and resource availability.

Pain Points of EVs Battery

Range Anxiety:

Users worry about insufficient battery range, especially in cold climates.

Charging Limitations:

Concerns persist over accessibility and speed of charging stations.

Safety Concerns: 

Lithium-ion batteries are prone to overheating, which can lead to thermal runaway and fires if not properly managed during charging or in accidents.

Battery Life:

Issues arise regarding longevity, particularly in diverse environmental conditions.

Cost:

High initial costs and potential replacement expenses are deterrents to adoption.

These factors underscore challenges and expectations surrounding electric vehicle batteries. Sodium-ion batteries currently have lower energy density but excel in cost and safety.

Sodium-ion batteries Supply Status in the Electric vehicles sector

Sodium-ion batteries are gaining traction as an alternative to lithium-ion batteries due to their potential for lower cost and environmental benefits. Major manufacturers like CATL, HINA, and BYD are actively developing sodium-ion battery technology. For instance, JAC Group has announced vehicles utilizing this technology.

The global sodium-ion battery market is projected to expand significantly, with forecasts suggesting growth from 4GWh in 2024 to nearly 124GWh by 2034, driven by advancements and increasing adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).

While sodium-ion batteries are making strides, lithium-ion batteries still dominate the EV market, with sodium-ion batteries expected to play a significant role in niche applications initially.

In EVs sector, sodium-ion batteries are less competitive in terms of energy density but offer significant cost savings and safety benefits.

Are sodium-ion Batteries Better than Lithium-ion Batteries?

Each battery type has distinct advantages and trade-offs, influencing their suitability for electric vehicles based on energy density, cost, safety, performance, and environmental impact.

Comparison Factor

Sodium-Ion Batteries

Lithium-Ion Batteries

NCM (Nickel-Cobalt-Manganese) Batteries

Energy Density

Lower energy density

Higher energy density

Highest energy density compared to LFP batteries

Cost

Cheaper due to abundant sodium

More expensive due to scarcity of lithium

More expensive than LFP batteries due to costlier materials

Safety

Safer with better thermal stability

Good safety, a balance between sodium-ion and NCM

More prone to thermal runaway and less safe compared to lithium-ion

Performance

Improving but may lag behind lithium-ion

Better overall performance, including cycle life and efficiency

Longer cycle life and better energy efficiency

Environmental Impact

Lower impact due to abundant sodium

Higher impact due to mining and scarcity

Greater impact compared to LFP batteries due to resource-intensive processes

Industry Outlook for Sodium-ion Battery

The global sodium-ion battery market is projected to grow significantly, potentially reaching nearly USD 27 billion. From 2023 to 2028, the market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 21.5%, rising from USD 0.5 billion to USD 1.2 billion.

 

As of 2023, the market was valued at approximately USD 321.75 million, with a forecasted CAGR of 16.3% from 2024 to 2030. Sodium-ion batteries are emerging as viable alternatives to lithium-ion batteries, with China leading in manufacturing and patent activities.

 

Sodium-ion batteries are gaining attention for residential and industrial energy storage due to their performance, safety, and cost advantages. These trends highlight the growing importance of sodium-ion batteries in the energy storage sector.

2024-2030 China Sodium-ion Battery ETA Shipment Volume

Forecast of Sodium-ion Battery Industrialization Stages

Stage

Timeline

Description

Initial Commercialization

2023-2025

Early adopters in niche markets such as energy storage and low-speed vehicles.

Market Expansion

2026-2028

Broader adoption across various applications as technology matures.

Mass Adoption

2029-2030

Widespread use in mainstream markets, including electric vehicles and consumer electronics.

Factors Affecting Sodium-ion Battery Industrialization

  • Technological Innovation

Improvements in energy density and charging efficiency boost industrial adoption.

  • Cost Efficiency

Lower manufacturing costs through economies of scale and supply chain development are crucial.

  • Environmental Considerations

Eco-friendliness compared to lithium-ion batteries enhances market acceptance.

  • Policy Support

Government policies promoting renewable energy and storage solutions are pivotal.

  • Market Demand

Increasing demand for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage drives industrialization。

These factors collectively shape the scalability and adoption of sodium-ion batteries in various industrial applications.

Conclusion

In conclusion, sodium-ion batteries present a promising alternative to traditional battery technologies, offering cost advantages, safety, and adequate performance for a variety of applications. As technological advancements continue to enhance their energy density and cycle life, sodium-ion batteries are poised to play a significant role in the future of energy storage and electric mobility.

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