BYD & Huaihai planning Na-ion battery factory in China
BYD is going to set up a production facility for sodium-ion batteries in China. In cooperation with the Huaihai Holding Group, BYD wants to become the world’s largest supplier of sodium battery systems for small electric vehicles.
BYD’s battery subsidiary FinDreams has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the Chinese conglomerate Huaihai Holding Group. Among other things, the agreement provides for the establishment of a joint venture to build the aforementioned production facility for Na-Ion batteries in Xuzhou in Jiangsu province. CNEVPost reported the move with reference to an official press release of the Huaihai Holding Group. The news website said the official press statement does not reveal the schedule for the start of construction and the planned commissioning. Details about the plant’s planned production capacity have also not been revealed. The batteries appear to be planned for micro cars and other light electric vehicles like two and three-wheelers.
Sodium-ion batteries are a technology that has recently re-emerged with a view to substantially reducing costs in the electric vehicle sector. The much cheaper sodium replaces lithium, which has seen considerable price fluctuations recently. The downside is that sodium-ion batteries have a lower energy density. In China, the battery giant CATL is planning the production of sodium-ion cells from this year onwards. We evaluated the technology’s advantages, disadvantages, and potential in a special report.
In April, it was leaked that besides CATL, BYD is also planning to use sodium-ion batteries in series-produced electric cars this year, although initially, it will be a hybrid of sodium-ion and lithium-ion batteries. The move was revealed by the news site 36kr, which is usually reliably well-informed about Asian cell manufacturers, with reference to insiders. However, this is by no means about microcars and other light electric vehicles: CATL is said to be planning the introduction of the new energy storage units initially in the first model of Chery’s iCar brand, which is to be launched on the market in the fourth quarter of this year. CATL confirmed Chery as the launch customer for its sodium-ion batteries shortly before, but without giving details.
BYD aims to introduce new batteries in its Seagull model in the second half of this year, according to the unconfirmed information from 36kr. BYD’s electric compact car recently went on pre-sale on the Chinese market – initially with LFP batteries at prices starting at 78,800 yuan (equivalent to around 10,500 euros). For the time being, this will also be a mixture of sodium and lithium batteries, the report said.
The new information, fed by the aforementioned official press release from BYD partner Huaihai, suggests that BYD plans to target the microcar market with pure sodium-ion batteries. According to this press release, Huaihai and FinDreams will increase demand for mini-vehicle batteries “nationwide and globally”, focusing on Xuzhou. Huaihai says it sees the enormous economic and social value of sodium batteries and began its involvement in the industry years ago with a strategic investment in sodium-ion battery start-up Natrium.
Huaihai was founded in 1976, according to CNEVPost, and is active in small vehicles, electric vehicles, parts and components, and financial services. The company’s homepage mainly offers two- and three-wheeled electric vehicles.