Tesla has started using BYD blade batteries for the Model Y electric crossovers produced at the Berlin gigafactory, resulting in a significant increase in charging speeds.
Until recently, another Chinese battery maker CATL was the sole supplier of batteries for the Model Y in Europe, but in early May it was reported that Tesla had started using BYD as a second supplier.
Data posted on the German forum Tesla Fahrer und Freunde shows that the Model Y with the BYD blade battery maintains peak charging speeds well above the CATL version.
Both the BYD blade battery and CATL’s Kirin battery are lithium iron phosphate (LFP) however the BYD battery is able to charge at at a higher speed for the entire duration of charging.
Notebook Check says that Model Y owners with the new BYD battery packs were able to maintain peak 172 kW charging speeds until the battery is 50% charged before tapering off.
“The Model Y with 62 kWh CATL battery, on the other hand, wasn’t able to maintain 172 kW charging speeds, and dropped off almost immediately, gradually reaching 50 kW at the 90% mark.” said Notebook Check.
BYD’s blade battery, which is used in BYD’s Tang SUV, Han and Atto 3 models, was first announced in 2020. BYD says higher charging speeds don’t impact the longevity of the battery.
“The Blade Battery tops 1.2 million km after 3,000 cycles of charging / discharging, while headline performance figures for the Blade Battery-powered BYD Tang include a single-charge range of 505km (NEDC) and acceleration from 0-100 km/h in just 4.6-seconds,” says BYD.
“The BYD Tang’s Blade Battery installation recharges from 30% to 80% of full capacity in an impressively short 30-minutes, with DC power output of 110kW.”
World’s number 1 and 2 EV makers working together
In March Tesla CEO Elon Musk denied a media report saying Tesla is ending cooperation with BYD on battery supply.
“That media report is false. Relations between Tesla and BYD are positive.”
That media report is false. Relations between Tesla and BYD are positive.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 14, 2023
The two EV makers are way ahead of their rivals in production volume however that hasn’t stopped them from working together to make further improvements.
Battle of the batteries not over yet
Although the BYD battery is showing some significant improvements, CATL’s new MP3 battery, which will go into production this year, may up the stakes.
CATL says the M3P battery which is based on new materials technology, will have a greater energy density and perform better than its lithium-ion phosphate batteries. The M3P battery is similar to the improved LFP battery chemistry but with added manganese.
Notebook Check says that GAC, maker of the first 620 mile (998 km) range SUV, uses manganese LFP technology (what it calls the SmLFP battery) that can charge up to twice as fast as the LPF packs now used in Tesla Model 3 and Model Y as well as higher energy density and better performance in cold climates.
CATL’s M3P battery may increase performance even further.
“While little is known about CATL’s exact M3P battery specs, insider sources have revealed that the cells have higher energy density than LMFP batteries while providing similar longevity and charging speed improvements.” says Notebook Check.
With battery technology developing at lightning speed, we’ll no doubt be seeing huge improvements to energy density, charging speeds and longevity in the coming years with profound impacts on the global automotive industry.
As Tony Seba said in his recent podcast interview with The Driven. “Soon enough you’re gonna see million mile EVs. And what that means is that over 10 years you’re going to need just one EV for 10 petrol cars,”
“Either way, it’s pretty much over for internal combustion engine.”
Daniel Bleakley is a clean technology researcher and advocate with a background in engineering and business. He has a strong interest in electric vehicles, renewable energy, manufacturing and public policy.