BYD has started supplying LFP cells to Tesla, specifically to the plant in Grünheide, Germany. The first batch of Tesla Model Ys equipped with BYD’s ‘Blade’ batteries are expected to roll off the assembly line at Giga Berlin in a month at the earliest.
For the time being, Tesla has no plans to use BYD batteries in its China plant in Shanghai, reports the Chinese portal Sina Tech, citing several sources familiar with the events. The company will continue to install cells from CATL and LG Energy Solution there. Specifically, around 70 per cent of the battery cells installed in the Giga Shanghai come from CATL and 30 per cent from LGES.
In 2020, BYD introduced its new bladed battery cell. The new cells use LFP chemistry, but the new form factor, which looks like a blade, is the real innovation enabling a safer cell and higher energy density at the pack level, according to the company. In 2021 there were rumors that Tesla was testing BYD’s new “blade batteries” for a potential supply partnership.
BYD states in a press release: “While undergoing nail penetration tests, the Blade Battery emitted neither smoke nor fire after being penetrated, and its surface temperature only reached 30 to 60°C. Under the same conditions, a ternary lithium battery exceeded 500°C and violently burned, and while a conventional lithium iron phosphate block battery did not openly emit flames or smoke, its surface temperature reached dangerous temperatures of 200 to 400°C. This implies that EVs equipped with the Blade Battery would be far less susceptible to catching fire – even when they are severely damaged.”
While this feature obviously offers great safety advantages, it also delivers thermal management improvements, and BYD claims the form factor enables energy density improvements by eliminating the need for modules.