Electric vehicle maker BYD is reportedly planning to phase out the pouch-type batteries that have been used in its best-selling hybrids. Citing individuals reportedly familiar with the matter, Reuters noted that the BYD’s decision to phase out the pouch-style batteries was partly due to potential durability issues and risk of leaks.
BYD has reportedly started converting the production lines for pouch-type cells at its Shaanxi and Zhejiang factories to prismatic cells, one of the publication’s sources claimed. A third battery factory in Qinghai will reportedly continue making pouch cells to minimize disruptions to the company’s hybrid vehicle production, though the facility is also expected to shift to prismatic batteries by early 2025.
As per the publication’s sources, BYD’s planned replacement for its pouch-style batteries is a prismatic battery dubbed “Short Blade.” The Short Blade battery will reportedly use stacked foils similar to the Blade Battery that is used in BYD’s all-electric vehicles, but they are shorter in length.
While BYD was able to dethrone Tesla as the world’s largest battery electric vehicle maker late last year, the company still sells lots of hybrid cars. Hybrids accounted for nearly half of BYD’s global sales in 2023. BYD also sold 98% of its hybrid vehicles in China last year.
So far, there have been no public reports of battery leakage issues in BYD vehicles that are equipped with pouch cells. However, the company and a number of industry experts have shared concerns about the potential risk of electrolyte leaks with pouch batteries, Reuters‘ sources claimed. Battery leaks could be problematic as they could result in fires.
Fellow EV makers like Volkswagen and Tesla have expressed concerns about pouch-type batteries in the past. In 2021, Volkswagen announced a move away from pouch batteries. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also stated in the past that Tesla “strongly recommends” against the use of pouch-style batteries due to the probability of a jump in battery temperature being “dangerously high.”
Interestingly enough, BYD did initiate a recall of over 60,000 BYD Tang DM-i hybrid vehicles in 2022. A recall plan that BYD reported to regulators pointed to a defect in the vehicles’ pouch-style battery, which could increase the risks of a thermal runaway.
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