Lithium-Ion move over for Sodium-Ion!

Lithium’s dominance of the battery world is now very much over. It’s expensive, inefficient and fails the eco pub test.

Lithium-Ion is expensive and addictive.

If you’re a savvy investor you’d know that the price of lithium has jumped from 2019 from $6000 USD per metric ton to $78,000 USD in just 3 years! This is because global demand for Lithium-Ion batteries is at an all-time high. As we all know EV Sales in most countries around the world have skyrocketed. But that’s not all we’re addicted to Lithium. It started in a big way in the 1990s with the gateway drug, huge brick cellphones (which needed huge batteries). Then came our laptops/notebook, smart phones (also with touch screens), solar panels and hearing aids. But we’re going to have to go cold turkey soon.

Image 4
Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lithium-Ion batteries are expensive for a reason.

It’s a rare earth.

Why cold turkey? It’s not just about the sky rocketing demand and therefore prices per ton. It’s because lithium is a rare metal, which means it will run out if you’re not careful. That’s not to say that Lithium mining is going to take off, it is and will continue to in a big way. Demand the use of lithium will continue to go on, it’s Australia’s black gold. Up to 95% of lithium can be recycled too! However according to the CSIRO we’re kind of doing a bad job of it… Only 10 per cent of Australia’s Lithium-Ion battery waste was recycled in 2021, compared with 99 per cent of lead acid battery waste. However, forgetting the enormous cost of keeping lithium batteries in EVs, there’s just not enough Lithium out there to keep the global vehicle fleet electric! I should mention Australia is the richest continent on earth for Lithium (and more precious metals) and was the biggest lithium producer for 2021.

A realistic alternative to Lithium-Ion?


So, what’s out there? Is there a viable alternative to Lithium-Ion EV batteries? It’s pretty easy to come by, it’s called Sodium (Sodium Ion Batteries). Sodium is the 6th most common element found on earth, making up 2.6% of the Earth’s crust. But essentially, it’s in everything, yes (even you). It’s more efficient too in power to weight than Lithium! Although Lithium has roughly 30% more storage and output capacity, Sodium Ion batteries are lighter because they have Aluminum in them vs Lithium’s use of copper (also unsustainable and involving a lot of mining). Did I mention aluminum is 100% recyclable and pretty much in all our household waste? Lithium batteries tend to use Cobalt (another rare earth which is scarce).

Sodium Ion Batteries can hold a charge better.

Large scale EV production using Sodium Ion based batteries makes sense from a longer charge. It’s now widely known that no matter how charged your EV was the night before if you live in a cold climate, you’re going to have way less battery capacity. After a snowy night or just a drop in the minus side of things, your EV can drop a few Kwhs in a short amount of time. However, Sodium Ion batteries tend to last longer in cold climates. Infact some studies suggest they can operate well still delivers 70.19% the room-temperature capacity at temperatures ranging from a VERY COLD -70°C to working very well at a VERY HOT 100°C.

Sodium is really cheap and solves growing pains.

Lastly did I mention Sodium is cheap? It’s a fraction of the price of Lithium, current market prices range from $279-$800 USD per metric ton. Which could mean the cost of making EV batteries and therefore EVs could be a fraction of what they are today. Roughly 34% (and growing) of the cost of manufacturing an EV is actually in the cost of the battery. Shockingly the costs of manufacturing an EV are getting out of control, yet demand is sky high (dangerously). Makes me think, Sodium Ion based batteries could be the preventative measure to stop another Automotive materials supply shortage crisis (semiconductors, which we’re still experiencing). Even more positive news, Sodium Ion batteries could see EVs become cheaper and more accessible for consumers (maybe even cheaper than the cheapest fossil fuel vehicles).

Disclaimer: JUCER does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the data and accepts no liability whatsoever arising from or connected in any way to the use or reliance upon this data.