The Tesla Model 3 and the BYD Han EV are popular electric sedans in China. The Han secured its place as China’s eighth best-selling car in H1 2023 with roughly 72,000 units sold, while the Model 3 held ground as the tenth best-selling EV, with close to 67,000 sales. A teardown specialist disassembled both their battery packs to discern the better cooling system.
Both packs are similar in size but differ in multiple areas, as per the mechanic who pointed out the differences in a Twitter video. Tesla's battery gets a metal top shell, while the Blade pack’s top cover is plastic. The metal shell would have better recyclability and attract a higher resale price, said the mechanic.
The Model 3’s pack also appears better put together. It is bolted using screws and gelatin-based structural adhesive while the Blade battery only uses screws. Even though that makes BYD's pack easy to disassemble, the Tesla battery is better sealed.
BYD Blade Battery
Serviceability could be Tesla's forte. The 2170 cells are packed into four modules, which can be individually disassembled if damaged cells need replacement. BYD’s cell-to-pack design is module-free, and the cells are glued to the bottom of the case with a potent adhesive, which makes them irreplaceable, as per the video.
For thermal management, the Blade pack uses a cooling plate mounted over the cells, through which the coolant flows to manage cell temperatures. Tesla’s cooling sheets are wrapped around the cells within the modules, and appear to cover more cell area, resulting in improved cooling consistency.
BYD’s thermal management is like pressing an ice-cold water bottle against your cheeks in hot weather, while Tesla’s cooling system is simply drinking that water, as per the narrator's analogy.
Tesla 2170 Battery Cells
Tesla doesn’t release the battery size for its models, but our analysis based on EPA energy consumption and claimed range suggests that it could have a capacity of around 60 kilowatt hours for the standard range variants and 80 kWh for the long-range versions. The Han EV uses an 85.4 kWh lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) battery pack.
As a reminder, there are several variables to consider in battery comparisons, and the aforementioned factors don’t necessarily make one better than the other. One report states that Tesla is using the Blade pack in the Model Y produced at Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenberg, as it has better-charging capabilities than the CATL units.
It’s worth noting that the 2170 cells are older than Tesla’s 4680 cells, which are conceptually similar to the cell-to-pack Blade battery. When Tesla first announced the new cells in 2020 at a Battery Day event, it said that they would be cheaper to produce and offer an improved range.