Tesla Supplier CATL Unveils More Affordable Sodium-Ion Batteries

As Tesla continues to search for the most affordable raw material options for making vehicles, one China-based Tesla supplier has just unveiled a new battery cell makeup that is thought to be cheaper than pure lithium-ion cells.

Tesla battery supplier Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) debuted a more affordable electric vehicle (EV) battery on Thursday, constructed from sodium-ion cells, according to Bloomberg.

In addition to the new sodium-based battery technology, the company also shared a sodium-ion battery pack that can be integrated with lithium-ion cells, effectively showing off the advantages of sodium while using the lithium to expand energy-density storage as much as possible.

CATL Chairman Zeng Yuqun said, “Sodium-ion batteries have unique advantages in low-temperature performance, fast charging and environmental adaptability.” Yuqun continued, “Moreover, they’re compatible and complementary with lithium-ion batteries. Diversified technical routes are an important guarantee for the long-term development of the industry.”

CATL is also reportedly looking to build a factory within Shanghai, which could further strengthen the company’s relationship with Tesla, which also has a Gigafactory in Shanghai. The Ningde-based company’s facility will supposedly be able to make 80 gigawatt-hours of battery cells per year.

In addition to supplying raw battery metals to Tesla, CATL has also been in talks with Apple about batteries for its upcoming EV.