29 Jan 24

BYD to secure lithium for EV production

Chinese new energy vehicle (NEV) manufacturer BYD aims to maintain its leadership in the Brazilian EV market. BYD has recorded a sales record in Brazil in 2023, selling 17,943 units on the Brazilian market.

However, to maintain its position, BYD must secure essential raw materials, such as lithium, for the manufacturing of EV batteries.

Sourcing lithium

Alexandre Baldy, BYD's Brazilian chair, revealed that the company held talks with Canada's lithium firm, Sigma Lithium, valued at $2.9 billion, for a potential supply agreement, joint venture or acquisition, the Financial Times reported on January 13th 2024.

Raul Jungmann, CEO of the Brazilian Institute of Mining (IBRAM), adds that BYD expressed interest in sourcing mining products from Brazil. He made the statement after conversations with BYD representatives during his visit to one of the company's factories in Shenzhen, China, on January 11.

Brazil possesses the potential to spearhead the production chain of chemical materials for lithium battery cells on both a national and global scale, as asserted by Ana Cabral-Gardner, the CEO and co-chair of the board at Sigma Lithium, in a report by S&P Global from September of the previous year.

Cabral envisions that the output from the designated Brazilian Lithium Valley, home to the nation's largest lithium reserves, could cater to the demand for 700,000 new electric vehicles (EVs) in 2023, followed by 1.6 million EVs in 2024, and an impressive 3 million units in the subsequent year. This Lithium Valley includes 14 municipalities in the state of Minas Gerais, according to information provided by S&P Global.

BYD EVs sales

In Brazil, BYD experienced an increase in electric vehicle sales, reaching 17,943 units in 2023—a 6,800% increase compared to the previous year. However, data from the Associación of Brazilian Electric Vehicles Producers (ABVE) reveals that Toyota's electrified vehicle sales surpassed BYD's, reaching 21,042 units last year.

BYD aims to initiate the construction of its electric car factory in Brazil next month, with an estimated value of BRL 3 billion (€552.7 million). In a press release on January 5, the Chinese carmaker announced that the facility wants to manufacture 150,000 EVs annually.

Located in the city of Camaçari, Bahia, the car plant is anticipated to commence production between late 2024 and early 2025.

Top 5 best-selling EV car brands in Brazil in 2023




Toyota CCross XRX Hybrid

10,283 units

BYD Song Plus GS DM

7,669 units

Toyota Corolla APREMIUMH

6,867 units

BYD Dolphin GS 180EV

5,971 units

CAO Chery Tiggo8 PHEV

4,605 units

Source:  ABVE

Brazil EV Sales

The Brazilian Association of Electric Vehicles (ABVE) anticipates a surge in electric vehicle (EV) sales, projecting a 60% increase to 150,000 units in 2024 compared to the figures recorded in 2023. ABVE has refrained from disclosing specific details regarding the production of EVs.

In the previous year, the EV market in Brazil experienced substantial growth, with sales reaching 93,927 units, a 91% rise from the 49,245 units produced in 2022, as reported by ABVE.

Despite the government's recent implementation of import taxes on electric vehicles and heightened taxes on hybrids, Brazil's electric car market, primarily reliant on imports, is expected to sustain its "intense rhythm," according to ABVE.

Picture Credit: Shutterstock: 2350646803


Authored by: Rodrigo Alonso