After months of rumors that Tesla is going to use BYD’s blade batteries at Gigafactory Shanghai, there’s a surprising turn of events that suggest Tesla is actually going to use the new battery cells at Gigafactory Berlin, and it reportedly already took delivery of the first cells.
In 2020, BYD, a China-based electric vehicle and battery company, 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.
BYD wrote 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.
It goes directly from cell to pack, not unlike Tesla’s structural battery pack technology.
In 2021, we first heard rumors that Tesla was testing BYD’s new “blade batteries” for a potential supply partnership last year.
When the report came out last year about Tesla testing the new cell from BYD, it stated that Tesla already had the cells in test vehicles and that it could start deliveries for production in the second quarter of 2022.
Earlier this year, BYD confirmed that it is about to start supplying Tesla (TSLA) with battery cells. It was presumed that those cells would go to Tesla Gigafactory Shanghai.
Now a new report coming from Sina says that the cells are actually going to Gigafactory Berlin and that the first vehicles with the cells could roll off of the factory within a month (translated from Chinese):
On the afternoon of August 10, a number of people familiar with the matter revealed that the blade battery supplied by BYD has been delivered to Tesla’s Gigafactory in Berlin, Germany, which is also Tesla’s first super factory to use BYD batteries. Tesla vehicles can roll off the assembly line in as little as one month (that is, the end of August to the beginning of September). It was also learned from another source that the Shanghai Gigafactory, which has attracted much attention, has no plans to use BYD batteries for the time being.
This is a surprising turn of events if it turns out to be true, but neither Tesla nor BYD are confirming right now, though BYD has previously confirmed plans to supply Tesla with battery cells.
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