The Battery Series: What does BYD have on the menu?
In 2022 BYD, Tesla's main rival, sold over 911,000 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and 946,000 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) globally. That's a total of 1.86 million EVs sold last year. In January of this year, BYD became the most significant new energy vehicle (NEV) maker in the world. The Chinese EV maker, which also produces trucks, buses and construction equipment, sold over 703,000 NEVs in the second quarter of 2023, of which 352,000 BEVs and 348,081 PHEVs.
In order to retain the title of world's biggest NEV manufacturer, BYD needs batteries that are high in efficiency and low in cost. The company's solution: the Blade Battery. Announced in March 2020, it combines high levels of safety, performance and durability.
The Blade Battery uses BYD's own CTP (Cell-to-Pack) technology, optimising volume by directly installing the cells in an array within the pack. This improves energy density and allows the honeycomb-like aluminium design of the Blade Battery to be used in a more compact space. Compared to CTP, the traditional CTM (Cell-to-Module) integration method provides a space utilisation of 40% by reducing the three-level grouping of single cells, modules and battery packs to two, grouping single cells directly into battery packs. CTP enhances battery space by eliminating modules, resulting in better range and durability. Thus, the improvements of BYD CTP technology are:
- Enhanced space utilisation within the battery pack from 40-50% to 60-80%,
- Increased energy density and decreased cost,
- Reduced weight of the battery,
- More durability and thermal resistance.
The structure of the Blade Battery from cell to pack. Source: Medium
The Blade Battery. Source: BYD
Blade Battery technology
The Blade Battery uses LFP as the cathode material and is cobalt-free like Tesla's 4680, also exhibiting impressive thermal stability. The battery has undergone rigorous steps of the Nail Penetration Test, considered the 'Mount Everest' among battery tests. The tests include heating the batteries to 300 degrees and overloading them by 260%. The heat of the Blade Battery changed between 30 and 60 degrees during the trial without catching fire or releasing smoke.
The three-layered lithium battery exceeded 500 degrees and burned during the Nail Penetration Test. In comparison, a conventional lithium iron phosphate battery (LiFePO4) reached a temperature of 200-400 degrees without catching fire and emitting smoke, says BYD. Blade Battery is used in BYD Tang, BYD Han and BYD Atto 3, to be followed by future models.
The Blade Battery is a testimony to the future goals of BYD, which aims to sell three million EVs by the end of 2023 and increase this figure each year by expanding into new geographies and forming partnerships. In March, BYD entered Central Asia by launching three models in Uzbekistan: the BYD Chazor and the Song Plus DM-i (PHEVs) and the BYD Han (BEV).
Meanwhile, BYD's European expansion is progressing rapidly. In June, the brand unveiled five BEVs in France, marking the first step towards establishing 100 dealerships by 2025. After showcasing its EVs at the Paris Motor Show in 2022, BYD opened outlets in several countries in Europe, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Luxembourg, the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Spain, and Portugal. The next targets are Italy and Hungary, followed by new countries in 2024.
In July, Reuters reported that BYD and privately held Megha Engineering and Infrastructures have submitted a proposal to form a joint venture with a $1 billion investment from the Chinese side. The long-term partnership will focus on producing various EVs, including luxury models and batteries. This expands the initial $200 million investment of BYD to India and aims to reach 100,000 EV production per year in a few years, as well as developing the charging infrastructure in the country, according to Reuters.
Through global expansion strategy, it's easy to assume that BYD is eager for more fierce competition with Tesla.
If you want to check out the first article of the series, it's here: The Battery Series: How Tesla wants to keep world leadership?
The main image is courtesy of BYD. The second in-article image shows the Blade Battery during the Nail Penetration Test, courtesy of BYD.