Can Northvolt Disrupt China’s Hold on EV Batteries?

by Carolyn Mathas

Battery manufacturer Northvolt manufactures a sodium-ion battery that is competitive with traditional chemistries. The company claims its battery is safer, cheaper, and more sustainable than most batteries on the market containing nickel manganese cobalt and eliminates the need to use lithium and graphite. Since sodium is easily obtainable, this type of battery may begin to break China’s hold over the EV battery supply chain.

The company is not alone in working on this solution. Many, including Chinese companies, are also developing sodium-ion technology. Northvolt CEO and co-founder Peter Carlsson said, “It’s an important milestone for Northvolt’s market proposition, but battery technology like this is also crucial to reach global sustainability goals by making electrification more cost-efficient, sustainable, and accessible worldwide.”

Northvolt wants to commercialize the technology to deliver affordable green energy storage, generate clean electricity, and transport it beyond China.

It’s not a clear winner yet – challenges mainly involve the EV range. Sodium-ion solutions still cannot compete against lithium-ion in long-range EVs, and the company is also developing lithium-metal batteries targeting high-performance EVs.

BYD in China is also using the technology, and Between Northvolt’s machinery and BYD’s manufacturing, there’s potential.

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