BYD Denies Rumors About Progress of Solid-State and Sodium-Ion Batteries

On November 22, Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD denied recent rumors that its solid-state batteries are about to be loaded into vehicles and that its sodium-ion batteries are entering the test stage.

Recently, news emerged that BYD’s solid-state lithium batteries will be loaded and tested in Chongqing. The project is led by Ouyang Minggao, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and professor at Tsinghua University, while other three consultants also participated in the R&D and development work. The first EV model adapting the solid-state battery will be the SUV from its high-end brand called Yangwang. BYD will also supply solid-state batteries to other enterprises, such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and Hongqi, which is owned by FAW.

According to a LatePost report on November 22, BYD plans to mass-produce sodium-ion batteries in the second quarter of 2023, to be installed in its Qin EV, Dolphin and Seagull. At present, they are in the sample verification stage.

BYD’s Qin EV and Dolphin are pure EV models with a price range from 100,000 yuan to 150,000 yuan ($13,964 to $20,946), reaching sales of 26,300 units and 152,100 units from January to October this year. The Seagull model, which BYD will launch next year, is an A0-class small car with a price of 80,000 yuan to 100,000 yuan. The A0 class sedan has a length of between 2.2 and 2.5 meters from its front to rear wheels.

LatePost noted that BYD might become the first company in the world to install sodium-ion batteries on cars. Another company that is expected to achieve this result is battery maker CATL. It released its first generation of sodium-ion batteries in 2021. At a third-quarter financial report meeting, CATL said that it planned to mass-produce sodium-ion batteries next year by cooperating with car companies and energy storage companies. However, CATL did not announce the specific mass production time or the names of its partners.

Compared with lithium batteries, the costs needed to produce sodium-ion batteries are lower. According to calculations by sodium-ion battery manufacturer HiNa Battery Technology, when the large-scale production of more than 100 GWh of sodium-ion batteries is realized, the material cost per 1 GWh sodium-ion batteries is 30%-40% lower than that of lithium iron phosphate batteries. Its disadvantages are low energy density, short cruising range and lifespan.

One lithium battery investor said they believed that even if BYD’s technical verification is smooth, it will not load sodium-ion batteries on a large scale next year. BYD can only realize the small-scale boarding of sodium-ion batteries next year to verify their market acceptance.

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In addition to sodium-ion batteries, industry actors are also developing new battery solutions such as solid-state batteries. Many schemes of solid-state batteries need to use lithium. Although this cannot reduce the dependence on lithium, they are safer and have higher energy density than existing battery schemes.

EV maker NIO once planned to load semi-solid batteries in the fourth quarter of this year, but now it has postponed this goal due to the need for further verification. This semi-solid battery is a transitional product from a lithium battery to a solid-state battery. CATL and Toyota Motor plan to mass-produce solid-state batteries in 2025.