Simanaitis Says

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YESTERDAY, KEITH BRADSHER DESCRIBED Chinese BEV popularity at this year’s Shanghai Motor Show. Today, he continues with news of a lady’s car, a carmaker’s vote for hybrids, and a battery manufacturer’s view on sodium instead of lithium. 

Hello Car! Bradsher describes, “Great Wall, a Chinese maker of sport utility vehicles, has a new electric car brand, Ora, that is targeted to women. It named car models for cats, partly to appeal to lovers of the Hello Kitty brand. It has an electric car that strongly resembles a Volkswagen Beetle.” 

Great Wall’s Ora Funky Cat EV. Image from

Great Wall’s display included a hairstyling area, piles of synthetic pink flowers, and mannequins in bridal gowns. 

I recall back in the 1990s Mitsubishi marketed its Minica Lettuce (great name, eh?) as a ladies Kei car. The Lettuce had a single driver’s door on the right, a pair on the left (for groceries and strapping in the kiddies). It also had a bin beneath the driver seat for m’lady’s shoe swap when driving.

Zeekr showed some traditional shapes, others less so. This and a following image by Qilai Shen for The New York Times, April 19, 2023. 

A Vote for Hybrids. Bradsher cites, “Toyota’s chief scientist, Gill Pratt, contended at a session of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January that overall greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced more by replacing 90 gasoline cars with hybrid cars than by using the same amount of scarce lithium to build one battery-electric car.” 

See also “Why Not Hybrids?” here at SimanaitisSays

Sodium Versus Lithium. “At the moment,” Bradsher reports, “there is a glut of lithium batteries, but long term many in the industry believe sodium can become a viable alternative or supplement to lithium as a key ingredient in E.V. batteries. For one thing, the production of sodium batteries would be better for the climate.”

The CATL display. Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. is the world’s largest maker of EV batteries. It’s now involved with automaker Chery in producing batteries of the sodium variety. 

Bradsher notes, “Switching to sodium could solve one of the biggest problems with lithium batteries, which put out much less electricity in freezing temperatures. Because of chemical differences between sodium and lithium, a sodium battery loses less than a tenth of its power at very cold temperatures, according to battery chemistry experts.”

What’s more, as one expert told Bradsher, “Sodium has no resource limit.” 

This may turn out to be one of the more significant revelations of Shanghai 2023. I’m sorry I wasn’t there. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2023  

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