Two compact electric vehicles have recently entered the market, marking significant strides in the electric car sector. The first model hails from Yiwei, an emerging electric car brand established in 2023 as a successor to the joint venture brand Sehol, a collaboration between JAC and Volkswagen Anhui. Notably, Yiwei's sodium-ion batteries are sourced from Hina Battery.
The second compact EV comes from Jiangling Motors Electric Vehicle (JMEV), a company predominantly owned by Renault. JMEV's model is equipped with sodium batteries supplied by Farasis Energy.
Yiwei, a new player under Anhui Jianghuai Automobile (JAC), was founded in 2023. JAC, in turn, is a subsidiary of Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group Holdings (JAG), a company with a 50% state ownership and the remaining 50% owned by the Volkswagen Group since its acquisition in 2020.
In February 2023, JAC made a noteworthy announcement about incorporating lithium-free sodium-ion batteries into electric vehicles. The Sehol E10X hatchback was the first vehicle to feature this innovation, boasting specifications such as a 25 kWh capacity, 120 Wh/kg energy density (140 Wh/kg for a single cell), and a commendable charging time of 3C to 4C (10% to 80% in 20 minutes). This translated to a total range of 252 km for the E10X.
Comparatively, Farasis Energy's sodium-ion batteries, currently in production, have energy densities ranging from 140-160 Wh/kg. In the JMEV EV3, these batteries enable a range of 251 km. For the standard EV3 variant, which relies on a lithium-ion battery, a CLTC range of 301 km is reported.
Sodium-ion batteries are anticipated to gain traction due to their reduced environmental impact and lower reliance on expensive resources. However, it's acknowledged that their performance is still striving to match the widespread popularity of the more established lithium-ion approach.