New Energy Vehicles

06 Jan 2024

BYD Breaks Ground on Its First Sodium-Ion EV Battery Plant

06 Jan 2024  by electrek   

The world’s largest EV maker, BYD, broke ground on its first sodium-ion battery plant this week. BYD is investing $1.4 billion (RMB 10 billion) with 30 GWh planned annual capacity.

You likely heard that BYD just topped Tesla in overall EV volume to become the largest electric car maker globally. However, BYD is also a top global battery manufacturer.

Although lithium-ion is currently the primary battery in vehicles, companies are developing new chemistries to unlock lower prices, more range, faster charging, and less raw material use.

BYD’s Blade Battery powers other automakers’ EVs, including Tesla, Hyundai, Toyota, and Ford, to name a few. The Blade Battery is an LFP battery designed and built by BYD’s FinDreams.

FinDreams began building BYD’s Blade Battery in 2020. Last June, the unit created its own joint venture with Huaihai Holding Group to expand into sodium-ion batteries.

The company aims to be the world’s largest supplier of sodium battery systems. Huaihai said it began exploring sodium batteries years ago after seeing their economic value.

BYD Dolphin EV (Source: BYD)

BYD begins building first sodium-ion battery plant

Sodium-ion batteries offer a cheaper alternative to lithium but have a lower energy density. The batteries are most useful in low-cost small cars or two-wheelers that don’t need the higher energy density.

FinDreams and Huaihai agreed to build the first BYD sodium-ion battery plant in Xuzhou in November.

BYD Atto 3 (Source: BYD)

The plant is not the first collaboration between the companies. BYD and Huaihai partnered a year earlier, in November 2022, to build a plant for Blade battery production. Construction began last January, and early production is planned for March.

Rumors surfaced in 2022 that BYD would begin sodium-ion battery production in 2023, with the Seagull being the first EV to receive the new tech. However, BYD’s Seagull was launched in April with an LFP Blade Battery.

YiWei sodium-ion battery-powered EV (Source: JAC Motors SA)

The news comes after JAC Group’s YiWei, a new EV brand backed by Volkswagen, began building its first sodium-ion battery-powered EV. The first model rolled off the production line last week, and deliveries are expected to begin this month.

Chairman of Yiwei Tech, Xia Shunli, said sodium-ion batteries will be “a low-cost solution that promotes the popularization of mass electric vehicles to masses.”

Battery giant CATL also revealed in April that Chery Auto’s iCar brand will be the first to use its sodium-ion batteries.

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