BYD Signs Contract with Ssangyong for Battery R&D

SsangYong Motor, which is currently undergoing an enterprise-wide restructuring, said on Tuesday that it had signed a power battery R&D contract and a memorandum of understanding on technical cooperation in the independent production of battery packs with Chinese car manufacturer BYD. The agreement is meant to help SsangYong further its conversion to electrification.

“Fin Dreams Industry, a wholly-owned battery manufacturer of BYD, will participate in the battery development project,” SsangYong Motor said. The  car battery jointly developed by the two companies will be installed on the U100 EV, which is expected to be mass-produced in 2023. In addition, the two companies plan to expand their cooperation and jointly develop pure electric vehicle platforms for the foreseeable future.

Ssangyong Motor is a South Korean enterprise whose predecessor was Hedong Huan Automobile Factory, which was founded in 1954 and officially renamed SsangYong Motor in 1988. The SUV Korando Family it launched in the same year shocked the local market at that time.

However, the development of this old-fashioned enterprise hasn’t always been easy. In 1991, SsangYong Motor began to cooperate with Mercedes-Benz and introduced engine technology and models from the latter into its own production. In 1993, the company borrowed $1 billion to develop luxury cars, but the meager income could not support the debt load, making it vulnerable when the Asian financial crisis hit in 1997 and was later acquired by another company.

At the end of 2020, SsangYong Motor filed for bankruptcy reorganization in Seoul courts again and began to look for new buyers. This October, it was acquired by Edison Motors, a Korean electric vehicle startup, for $223 million.

For this current agreement, SsangYyong Motor plans to send its researchers to BYD regardless of the epidemic. The company explained that cooperation with BYD is aimed at eliminating the market’s worries about the company’s future and to establish a stable supply and demand system for the production of its electric vehicles in the future. In addition, it is expected to shorten the development cycle of its electric vehicles, which is an opportunity for SsangYong Motor to improve its competitiveness in the coming years.

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According to data released earlier by SNE Research, a market research institution, in October this year, the installed capacity of power batteries in the world was 26.2 GWh, down 20.4% from the previous month, among which Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL) ranked the first and BYD ranked the fourth.

BYD is also in the lead in battery technology. Its blade battery adopts the latest advanced manufacturing technology, which has better current density as well as heat dissipation performance and a longer battery life.