Tesla could use Chinese automotive company BYD’s new, ultra-safe “Blade” battery design in some of its vehicles in 2022. The rumors that associate the Blade battery from BYD being paired with Tesla’s successful electric models in China follow a report from just days ago when Tesla was rumored to have already completed a prototype for its $25,000 EV.
Multiple Chinese media sources, including the Associated Press, have reported that people familiar with BYD’s supply chain and plans for the blade battery have indicated that the company will supply Tesla with the pack design as soon as Q2 2022. According to the initial reports, Tesla is already testing its vehicles with the blade batteries, which could have fueled the speculation from several days ago that an affordable $25k car prototype is in the works at Giga Shanghai, Tesla’s Chinese production facility.
The reports stated that Tesla has already entered the “C-sample test phase” with vehicles with the blade battery installed.
BYD’s Blade battery has been developed for several years, but the automotive entity unveiled the design in March 2020. The company began the development to mitigate concerns about battery safety in EVs, a growing concern as the industry began to take off a few years ago.
The design is different than current battery pack designs. In the Blade battery, singular cells are arranged together in an array, then inserted into a battery pack. It eliminates unnecessary space due to arrangement optimization, and the space within the pack is increased by over 50% compared to block batteries, BYD said.
The battery pack underwent extensive testing to ensure safety and efficiency with its design. The Blade pack passed nail penetration tests by not emitting smoke or fire after the pack’s main housing was punctured. Additionally, surface temperatures only reached between 30 and 60 degrees Celsius (86 to 140 Fahrenheit). Traditional pack designs for LFP block batteries did not catch fire, but temperatures reached 200 to 400 degrees Celsius. Additionally, ternary lithium batteries exceeded 500 degrees Celsius and “violently burned,” BYD stated.
Interestingly, several days ago, it was rumored that Tesla might have already completed some prototypes of its $25k sedan that it targets for the Chinese market. The report revealed that Tesla might have already lined up the suppliers for this vehicle. Now that rumors of BYD’s blade battery could be installed in the car to help reach the affordable price point, there is certainly some momentum behind the speculation. Tesla has attempted to develop the $25k car in China for some time, and it will eventually be a global offering from Tesla. However, the company has been ramping production of the Model 3 and Model Y and attempting to keep up with demand in China with those two vehicles.
The $25k Tesla could launch as early as next year. With suppliers beginning to reveal themselves, it is not a long shot to think that Tesla could capture some more of China’s EV market share with a sub-$30,000 vehicle.