Baidu's car-making arm Jidu Auto could be one of the first users of Chinese power battery giant CATL's just-released sodium-ion batteries, with both sides aiming to complete the industrial upgrade by 2023, Tmtpost reported Friday.
Jidu Auto may consider the latest sodium-ion battery as well as lithium-ion battery technology routes, and there are plans to secretly visit CATL in the near future, the report said, citing an unnamed source.
Baidu told CnEVPost that they would not comment.
CATL on Thursday unveiled its first-generation sodium-ion battery, which has a slightly lower energy density than the current lithium iron phosphate battery. But it offers significant advantages in low-temperature performance and fast charging.
The battery's cell-unit energy density has reached 160Wh/kg, the highest level in the world today, the company said.
The company has already started the industrialization layout of sodium-ion batteries and plans to form a basic industrial chain by 2023, CATL said.
It is worth noting, however, that analysts generally expect the batteries to be used mainly in energy storage and low-speed vehicles.
Sodium-ion batteries are less likely to replace lithium-ion batteries, and the two will meet the needs of different market segments, said Guosen Securities analyst Tang Xuxia's team in a report on Friday.
Sodium-ion batteries are suitable for areas with low energy density requirements but are cost-sensitive, and will mainly be used in energy storage and in two-wheeled vehicles, the team said.
It can also be used in electric vehicles including low and medium-range, data centers, backup power, base station power, energy storage, construction machinery, industrial vehicles, smart grid field, to alleviate the problem of the limited development of energy storage batteries caused by the shortage of lithium resources, the report said.