Faradion claims it can provide direct savings with the cost of the materials
A start-up has claimed it could slash the cost of the new Tesla home battery pack by up to 35% if it used its sodium-ion battery chemistry instead of lithium-ion batteries.
Faradion made the claim during a demonstration of the world’s first sodium-ion powered vehicle. The Sheffield-based company has loaded a bicycle with 48 of its 2.9V sodium-ion battery cells, and rode it around the car park at the Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) Centre in Oxfordshire, as proof-of-concept of its technology.
Williams designed and made the sodium-ion battery modules, while the cell chemistry and active materials were developed by Faradion. Analysis and testing of the materials was carried out by Oxford University.
The demonstration came a week after Tesla launched its highly anticipated product for home energy storage, the Powerwall. The wall-mountable lithium-ion battery pack, which comes as part of a system with photovoltaic solar panels, is available as a $3,500, 10kWh variant, optimised for use as backup power, or a $3,000, 7kWh version optimised for daily use. Powerwall uses technology developed for the company’s range of sports cars and is seen as the first attempt at a mass-market home energy storage solution.
Speaking at the launch of the sodium-ion “e-bike”, Dr Chris Wright, chairman of Faradion, said: “We could take 35% off the price of the battery packs Elon Musk was announcing last week, using the same manufacturing methods. Only 15% of his costs are in the manufacturing at the scale he is doing it. We provide direct savings with the cost of the materials.”
Dr Jerry Barker, chief technical officer of Faradion, which employs 12 people, added that the company’s sodium-ion batteries were also safer and more sustainable than lithium-ion batteries. “We spent two years on the chemistry for the active materials and tested 2,500 materials for the electrode for our solution. We’ve been surprised ... these cells have exceeded what we thought possible at this stage. We’re further down the line than anyone else with sodium-ion batteries and are competitive with lithium-ion right now.”