This is why BYD Blade battery is ahead of competition
Currently the LFP (LiFePO4) cobalt-free chemistry allows to build EV batteries that are extremely safe, durable, simple, affordable and with good performance.
Since – unlike NCM or NCA – LFP battery cells are extremely safe and won’t burn or explode even if punctured, the battery packs don’t require much safety equipment and can adopt a simple CTP (cell-to-pack) format becoming module-less.
Assembling module-less battery packs with prismatic LFP battery cells is extremely easy and fast, but BYD goes a step further with its super long Blade battery cells.
#BYD: blade battery sales estimates:
2021: >600K units/ 35GWh
2022: 820K units/ 51GWh
2023: ca 1M units/ 70GWh
— Moneyball (@DKurac) August 7, 2021
Everbright Securities analyzed the cost of several battery packs made with LFP cells from different companies and you’ll see why BYD is ahead of competition.
Cost of LFP (LiFePO4) battery packs
- Generic with modules: 650 yuan (85 euros) per kWh
- Generic with CTP: 570 yuan (75 euros) per kWh
- BYD with CTP: 420 yuan (55 euros) per kWh
BYD Blade battery cell specs
- Capacity: 202 Ah
- Nominal voltage: 3,2 V
- Max charging voltage: 3,65 V
- Energy: 646,4 Wh
- Length: 905 mm
- Height: 118 mm
- Width: 13,5 mm
- Volume: 1,4 L
- Volumetric energy density: 448 Wh/L
- Weight: 3,9 kg (estimation)
- Gravimetric energy density: 166 Wh/kg
- Cycle life: above 3.000 cycles
- Chemistry: LiFePO4 (LFP)
Hopefully, BYD will soon also produce long prismatic battery cells with other cobalt-free chemistries such as LNMO or even sodium-ion based.
Everbright Securities estimates that SIBs (sodium-ion batteries) are 30 % cheaper to produce than LIBs (lithium-ion batteries), dropping the cost per kWh below 40 euros.
Anyway, I’ve been praising BYD for a while now, but nothing prevents other battery cell makers to start producing long cobalt-free prismatic battery cells. SVOLT knows it and already has a long 226 Ah cobalt-free NMX battery cell that automakers can order today.
Remember when the auto industry told us that when the kWh cost of battery packs reached 100 USD (85 euros) electric cars would achieve price parity with their gas-counterparts?
Automakers that don’t plan to soon start using cobalt-free battery cells in CTP packs aren’t serious about mass producing affordable electric cars. The technology is right there in front of them.
With a good 60 kWh LFP battery costing around 3.300 euros today there is no good reason why we still allow automakers to profit from ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) cars that poison our air.
“The technology is right there in front of them.” – Well said Pedro… I agree that serious automakers should be releasing BEVs with this technology now, or in the very near future (6 months) and the price can be low.
The Chinese BEV makers are already demonstrating what it possible, with the BYD Dolphin as one example: around 300 km (WLTP), decent fast charging, for around €18,000. This is a larger and better value BEV than the VW triplets.
European combustion cars start from under €9000 (e.g. Dacia Sandero). BEVs save the cost of the ICE, fuel system, engine management system, exhaust system, gearbox. A modest power electric motor, inverter, and electronics don’t cost much more than €1000 (or shouldn’t at scale). If a CATL LFP battery can now be bought as a supply item €3000 for 40 kWh (gross), then where are our ~€13,000 BEVs? Want 50 kWh? €14000 or so. Compact cars can easily get 300-350 km WLTP with a gross 50 kWh (just like the Opel Corsa/PSA siblings), and see almost unlimited demand at a €14000 price point.
For the legacy international auto brands to NOT make such BEVs from now on, looks like a political decision. Or, perhaps they just can’t get the battery supply contracts from CATL and other LFP suppliers?
I did ask Northvolt CEO Peter Carlsson if they were looking at making LFP, but he basically said they were not. That’s a missed opportunity in my view.
Either way I’m sure Europeans (and others) will happily buy the Dolphin and similar (and even more affordable) BEVs made in China.
Delightful to read Dr Holland in the comments. I couldn’t agree more with Pedro’s article and Max insight. I won’t switch to EV until price parity is achieved and I’m looking very closely at the battery contracts signed with battery manufacturers by OEMs. So far, I don’t see any long term strategy from them and it’s not promising for our future. Chinese car brands surely have a card to play here and disrupt the market like they did with smartphones…
The Dacia is a good example. Another example, is that before discontinuing it, SKODA sold the 5-door ICE Citigo in its domestic market (Czech Republic) with a starting price of 8.120 euros. The 3-door version was even cheaper… Why do electric counterparts have to cost at least twice as much?
The problem – from their perspective – is that if Euro carmakers drop the prices of electric cars, governments start banning ICE cars and stop subsidizing electric cars… By overpricing electric cars, automakers can keep scamming buyers and taxpayers.
What’s ironic is that some people get mad with me for telling them the truth, instead of being mad with legacy automakers.
Is like you telling your buddy that his wife is cheating on him and when he realizes that it’s true he gets mad at you instead, for pointing it out…
Unfortunately, it seems that only competition from startups and Chinese automakers will force Euro carmakers to stop acting like fools.
More EV websites should point out these two simple truths. Euro automakers are overpricing electric cars on purpose and subsidies are counterproductive. Banning ICE cars is what we need to do.
If selling ICE cars gets more difficult, automakers will start selling affordable electric cars in no time. Even for greedy automakers, it’s better to sell EVs than nothing at all!
As for Northvolt, I think that European battery cell makers will adopt LNMO as their favorite cobalt-free chemistry and maybe sodium-ion batteries for more cost-sensitive products. LFP will likely remain a “Chinese” chemistry.
Thanks Pedro. I’m going to start communicating about the good value Chinese BEVs more in my writing, and then I’ll pose the question – why aren’t Euro makers doing the same? You are right that it’s just to buy more time, make the transition less financially disruptive for them, and meanwhile milk more profit from ICE.
Also, don’t forget to mention what’s the real kWh cost nowadays. Automakers still like to blame battery costs for their overpriced electric cars.
Hello guys, I just got here… Sorry for the delay.
It seems the lower cost per kWh on these cells come at the penalty of a high minimum capacity to keep the voltage in the 300V-400V arena, ’cause the cell is 3.2V but with a very high 202 Ah capacity.
Most EVs on the market use some 92-100 blocks in series to get the high voltage needed. Teslas reportedly use 96S x 3.7V = 355.2V. For the same kind of voltage here we’d need 111S, or about 71.750kWh – this won’t work for a low spec’d car, such as the Spring/Kwid; the price would still be too high.
If they could only make cells half this size with the same $/kWh ratio…
SVOLT will produce blade battery cells in different lengths. BYD will have to do the same.
Thanks for the reply and link. However, the info on the SVOLT blade shows it has the same nominal voltage as BYD’s blade with 196Ah, just 3% less capacity than BYD’s. That’s still 69,619.2 kWh for a 111S (355.2V) setup. These don’t seem to change things for entry level models, but will possibly make mid-size EVs safer and a bit less expensive.
While L300 cells are mostly designed for 800-volt systems, you could also use them in 400-volt systems that don’t require high battery capacities.
Are you sure BYD battery costs just 55 euros. CATL being a pure battery maker should be able to sell at a much lower cost than BYD which is a dual (auto / battery maker).
But the average battery cost should still be much higher. Last year end, it was $137 / KWh for all types of batteries (NCx + LFP). I believe by 2022 end, it should hit $100 / KWh and starting from 2023-01, automakers should not give any excuse.
Those figures are from Everbright Securities.
Remember the report from Reuters last year that placed CATL’s LFP cells at 60 USD (51 euros) per kWh?
I also find hard to believe that putting those cells into packs increases the cost per kWh from 51 to 75 euros.
However, it seems that the CTP packs using smaller LFP cells from CATL aren’t as optimized as BYD’s packs with long Blade cells.
Maybe CATL gets the cheapest kWh cost at the cell level, but at the pack level BYD has an advantage.
I think it’s a question of time before CATL starts producing long prismatic cells to have an alternative to the BYD Blade battery.
Don’t worry Pedro
Its coming, Sodium ion is a game changer
BYD started as a battery maker. They bought out a middle tier car maker in 2004.
Sorry, it was 2003. (“Tsinchuan Auto” was the company)
Almost there, mr. Holland…
The Big Read: History of BYD – CarNewsChina.com
While Indian Railways converted 71% of its track to electric, many other countries have very small %age.
Suburban long distance trains are 1 area where electrification could not be achieved because of various reasons.
Capital cost of laying catenary.
People complaining that catenary is eyesore.
Resistance to cutting trees / branches coming near to catenary.
Do the LFP battery powered trains make sense.
Just a battery with 20 – 30 km range will do to begin with.
These trains stop in many stations and the a fast charger in station track (3rd rail) can be activated to charge the battery to replenish some range.
I believe LFP can be fast charged without any range loss.
Let the iron in LFP move the iron cars with iron wheels running on iron rails.
May be BYD can move into locomotive business.
Thanks Pedro: I watched, very interesting. So they are leader in heavy electric vehicles.
The problem with cheap cars is that they are not needed. It’s exaggeration, but hear me.
I’ll give you an example of relatively poor EU country (so, generally considered as rich for the rest of the world). Poland is a 36 m country, which generates 0,5 m new car sales and about 2 m of the used one.
New cars are mostly bought by companies (for sales people or management) or rich business people. Companies 70%, 20% premium cars and the rest 10% are reasonably priced cars. So, it’s actually a minuscule market for cheaper cars. If you count the lower profit (or barely a profit) on such a car – you have the reason for the lack of cheap EVs. In the premium segment, the price parity is already here. Tesla Model 3 with the performance of BMW M3 costs half the price of the ICE car. If you compare it with the uncompetitive ordinary BMW 3 series – it is still on parity or cheaper.
I agree, rather than cheap EVs, we need mid-price long range EVs. Model 3 outsells cars that are cheaper and better value, because it is a genuine replacement for cars in its price range, while cheap EVs are only for specific demographics with specific use-cases (like second cars, retirees, short commuters etc).
People would rather buy a second-hand car than a cheap new car, because cars today easily last a decade and 150k+ miles. So it makes more sense to build mid-price cars that genuinely compete with ICE.
So I think something like a €25000 CUV with 500km of range would outsell a €15000 hatchback with 300 km of range. After a few years of such models, people wanting affordable cars will choose to buy a 15k EUR used full-range EVs, rather than a new small car with lower range. EVs being more reliable will make buying second-hand a more attractive option.
“extremely safe and won’t burn or explode even if punctured”
I wouldn’t bet my life on it. I’ve seen smaller LFP batteries making a nice flamethrower… LFP-Gr is a bit safer than NCM or NCA, but it’s still Li-ion, with flammable electrolyte and reactive lithiated graphite. It will just burn at ~400°C instead of 800.
Yes, small battery cells are less safe.
In a video presentation BYD said that one reason why their long LFP cells are even safer than other LFP cells is the larger cooling area.
You can see in the nail penetration test BYD performed that the cell stayed below 60º C.
More than 583.507 plugins sold in 2021-06 is phenomenal and we cannot expect any faster increase.
However if you are in need of a new vehicle immediately, I would suggest you buying a 2.000 euros old used car and keep it for 18 – 24 months. Definitely in 2023 you will find an affordable long range BEV, either from china or tesla or vw. Why spending 20.000 euros on ICE car that will keep polluting for another 10-12 years.
At that time, the lower battery price will ensure that automakers dont dodge.
BYD Dolphin to the EU in 2022…
“this model will become the worst nightmare of the Opel Corsa-e, Peugeot e-208 and Renault ZOE”
BYD Dolphin to Australia and will be the cheapest BEV by far available there..
The BYD Dolphin and BYD Yuan Pro definitely seem perfect for the European car market.
Looks like the future is lithium-free (if those researchers get sodium or aluminium batteries into production. Aluminium-ion battery will have higher energy, no need for cooling, super capacitor-grade charge/discharge, no rare materials based on graphene and aluminium (so no geopolitical tensions), could be used in current EVs, have longer cycle life, good behaviour in winter, good density (between 150 and 160Wh/kg and 7000W/kg). For me it looks like no brainer for EVs. Let’s see if they manage to bring them to market with affordable pricing.
I agree, I wish decision makers could see it as clear as we do. More after the overwhelming recent IPCC study. European automakers are winning the battle of delaying EV adoption, while we should be implementing a coordinated European plan to mass produce batteries and EVs, same way we have done with vaccines.
BYD I think is one of the first at reaching EV maturity. Its tech looks ready for the mass market. I had a look at BYD vehicle sales and they have been stagnant during the last 10 years at around 500.000 units/year. So lets see if they are capable of scaling EV production and expanding globally. Sales shouldn´t be a problem with such a good products coming but entering new markets is hard and expensive.
I do not think that any project/company on EV field would be able to call itslelf as “mature” for at least 4-5 more years because battery tech and other improvements (electro motor, aero,…) are changing very rapidly. To reach some sort of maturity, there will have to be a year without any major breakthroughs. I do not see that happening in this decade. Which is good for us consumers and for the planet I guess.
For me the concept of maturity is more about when the people is willing to embrace EVs massively, but you are right I got carried away. BYD new platform still has a lot to prove in a real world environment. And one manufacturer is not going to make every new car. Mature tech has to be widely available to many manufacturers.
Why do they market this as some revolutionary new technology when its just the same old LiFePo batteries used in the wheego life from 2011
I hope those who bought an ev in 2019-20-21 will be able to ask for a battery upgrade to blade battery without raplacing the whole car. If battery technology keep changing it will just hurt the market more than anything. Who wants to buy a disposable ev car? When we buy a new we want that car to last . Even if you intend to sell your car after 3, 5 or 7 years, you will want that car to last atleast 12 yrs (for a better resale value) but how are you supposed to keep the resale value interesting is the battery is already absolute-degraded?
Those who bought a $40k ev equiped with present lithium, will want to swap to the blade battery. Will they be forced to buy a new ev car to get a blade battery ? Automakers won’t do anything, they just want to sell cars so they will unlikely sell blade batteries to older ev cars. They want people to change their car. Will people want to change their ev car everytime there is a new battery technology?
no, nobody want that. They want swappable battery.