The Xubaka electric moped is striking for its light weight and for having a frame more like a bicycle than a motorbike – but it is also noteworthy for a long-term plan to fit it with a sodium-ion battery.
Manufactured by the not-entirely-coincidentally-named French firm, Sodium Cycles, the Xubaka has been in development since 2018.
Electrek reports how the bike’s unique frame keeps its weight down to just 50kg – around half what you’d expect from a similarly-performing electric or petrol-powered moped.
It can still carry plenty though. Most of the promo images feature a pillion seat and this can also be replaced by a luggage rack or box.
The bike features a 4000w motor with a top speed limited to 45km/h to keep it within the EU moped category.
The version that is due to be released this year features a 1.34 kWh lithium-ion battery, but Sodium Cycles is looking to use the sodium-ion batteries that are being developed by another French company TIAMAT, which has received government backing from the CNRS (French National Center of Scientific Research).
No word yet on exactly when this will happen, however.
Many of the elements required for lithium-ion batteries have a high environmental impact and cost. Sodium, in contrast, is abundant and would therefore significantly reduce production costs.
In 2017, we reported on a solid-state battery developed by John Goodenough, the co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery.
Goodenough’s colleague on the project, Maria Helena Braga, said that the glass electrolytes used allowed for the substitution of sodium extracted from seawater in place of lithium.