In an interview on CGTN, a Chinese state-owned media outlet that provides news in English, BYD Vice President, Lian Yubo, who is also president of its automotive engineering research institute, confirmed that his company will supply batteries for Tesla’s electric cars. This news is the confirmation of the rumors that in recent months linked the two companies and that even went so far as to affirm that a prototype of the Blade batteries was already being tested in a model of the Californian company.
During the interview, the presenter asked Yubo about the quality of Tesla’s product compared to his own, since many of the electric cars of both companies are direct competition. The leader of the Chinese company acknowledged that Elon Musk had previously declared that BYD cars “didn’t look good”, but that now it no longer mattered because the Chinese company is now the leader in the electric car market in China. Yubo affirms that Tesla is a very successful company and that “at BYD we respect and admire Tesla. We are good friends with Elon Musk and will soon provide him with batteries”.
For BYD, Tesla has managed to win over its customers by turning itself into a fashion brand, a symbol of innovation and technology: ”Some of our newcomer carmakers are learning from him (Tesla), and for us it is also an example from which we can learn”.
With these words it seems the battery supply agreement between the two companies is close to becoming a reality. Currently the only supplier of Tesla cells in China is CATL (Contemporary Amperex Technology) which has a battery module assembly plant near the Tesla Gigafactory in Shanghai. The LFP battery supply contract aims to reduce the price of its electric cars in China. This technology is not commonly used as its energy density is lower and it has been limited to some large vehicles due to its cost, which is significantly lower.
As reported by some local media in August last year, BYD’s increased production capacity of Blade batteries means they can be made available for sale to other manufacturers. At that time it was claimed that one of them could be Tesla, who could receive them at from the second quarter of 2022 and include them in the electric cars that it manufactures in the Shanghai Gigafactory. As reported by the Chinese local media cls.cn, these batteries were already being tested in a Tesla electric caralthough neither the American manufacturer nor BYD confirmed this news.
At the end of October last year, a source close to BYD stated that the company had received a 10 GWh order from Tesla and earlier this year, Chinese social networks claimed that the order was now official and that the contract with BYD’s battery manufacturing unit, FinDreams Battery, had a total reach of 204,000 Blade battery units each year. So far there has been no official confirmation (or denial) of this news from BYD and Tesla.
In March last year, BYD introduced a new battery for electric cars called ‘Blade Battery’ that uses LFP (lithium iron phosphate) chemistry. rated by the company as indestructible, They can withstand all kinds of resistance tests, without reacting to explosions or fires.
BYD is the largest manufacturer of new energy vehicles (NEV) in China, with 114,943 vehicles sold in May, the third consecutive month with more than 100,000 units. In all, he installed 4.27 GWh of batteries, ranking second by market share with a 32.2% share according to data released by the China Automotive Battery Innovation Alliance (CABIA) early last month. CATL maintains first place with 5.08 GWh installed in April and a market share of 38.3%, although the gap between the two companies is narrowing.