When BYD announced its Blade Battery, back on March 29, we reported that as a promising new option with the lithium iron phosphate (LFP) chemistry. Even Tesla will adopt it in China in a partnership with CATL. Anyway, according to an Interact Analysis report, that is just the tip of the iceberg in BYD’s plans for the future. And it plans to rule the EV world.
BYD did something else that went under the radar on March 16: it created Fudi. This brand gathers five companies that will sell batteries and EV components to other manufacturers. While that does not seem important, it is the stepping stone of BYD’s strategy. Just to give you an example, Volkswagen intends to do the same thing with its MEB platform.
The idea is that you have to share your technology to make it become the standard. Apple made the Macintosh and a great operating system that worked only for it. Microsoft made Windows. Sony made Betamax, which was regarded as the best video system in the world at the time. JVC shared VHS with the world. The rest is history.
Any automaker that manages to get other companies to use their technology will have an edge in determining where this technology will go. It will be the standard followed by others, something that helps not only from a strategic point of view but also in terms of sale volumes.
Volkswagen had that experience with the Beetle. Besides selling the car, it also sold engines and floor pans to a wide variety of small manufacturers. And it wants to repeat that with its electric platform, the MEB. We already spoke about that in an article back in July 2019: have a look.
If BYD manages to sell the Blade Battery to other companies willing to have their own EVs, it will be in charge both of the way the technology develops and also of a fair chunk of the market it will create. And we did not even mention the motors, converter, and controllers BYD can also supply in the process.
The Blade Battery has a life cycle of 8 years or 1.2 million km. It is also extremely safe and 30 percent more affordable than other LFP battery packs, which are already a bargain compared to Li-ion equivalents. The Interact Analysis report says its cost could be as low as $90/kWh. According to Statista.com, Li-ion battery packs had a cost of $158/kWh in 2019. That translates into a 75.5 percent price advantage in favor of BYD’s new battery pack.
The first car to have the Blade Battery will be the Han. It was expected to go on sale in June, but the COVID-19 pandemic may have altered those plans. The sedan has an NEDC range of 605 km (376 miles) and goes from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.9 seconds.
If the Blade Battery delivers what BYD promises, we can see Fudi having quite some success in selling its components to small and big manufacturers. It can help affordable EV projects finally become financially viable, and affordable electric cars are what we need to make the transition from the combustion engine to a cleaner transportation matrix.
Will other companies let BYD alone in these efforts to become the Microsoft of EVs? The more competition, the better.