This is the first EV with a battery that doesn’t use lithium

JAC Motors, the Chinese automaker with backing from Volkswagen, is preparing to introduce the automotive market to the first mass-produced electric vehicle (EV) featuring a sodium-ion battery under its newly established Yiwei brand. Despite sodium-ion battery technology having a lower density and being less mature compared to lithium-ion, its advantages include lower costs, abundant supplies, and superior cold-weather performance, potentially accelerating widespread EV adoption. CarNewsChina has reported that deliveries of the JAC Yiwei EV hatchback are scheduled to commence in January.

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Launched in 2023, Yiwei represents a new brand under the umbrella of JAC. Volkswagen holds a 75 percent stake in JAC, maintaining management control, and also owns 50 percent of JAC’s parent company, Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group Holdings (JAG). The other 50 percent of JAG is owned by the Chinese government, creating a unique and unconventional partnership in the automotive industry.

The Yiwei EV seems to be a rebranded version of the Sehol E10X hatchback, which was announced earlier in the year. CarNewsChina provides details of the Sehol model, stating a range of 252 km (157 miles) with a 25 kWh capacity, 120 Wh/kg energy density, 3C to 4C charging, and the utilization of a HiNa NaCR32140 cell. The introduction of the Yiwei brand in May signaled JAC’s decision to phase out the Sehol label, opting for vehicles to carry either the JAC or Yiwei brand. The recent unveiling of the EV aligns with this strategy, although JAC has yet to confirm whether the Yiwei-branded model will retain the E10X designation.

In April, JAC presented the Yiwei 3 at the Shanghai Auto Show, with an LFP lithium battery. The sodium-ion variant was promised to launch at a later date.

The latest Yiwei EV incorporates cylindrical sodium-ion cells from HiNA Battery, and JAC employs the modular UE (Unitized Encapsulation) honeycomb structure for assembling batteries. This approach, similar to CATL’s CTP (cell-to-pack) and BYD’s Blade, offers enhanced stability and performance.