BYD establishes joint venture to produce sodium-ion batteries

July 12, 2023

FinDreams, the battery unit of Chinese automotive conglomerate BYD, is establishing a joint venture with Huaihai Holding Group. Together, the two companies intend to establish themselves as the world’s largest supplier of sodium-ion batteries for small EVs.

Build Your Dreams (BYD) currently holds the title of the second largest automaker in the world behind Tesla. We’ve followed the company as it continues to expand its global footprint to new markets in Europe and Asia.

Unlike Tesla, however, BYD is a top-three global manufacturer of batteries, in addition to producing EVs. While lithium-ion battery cells remain the industry standard to propel electric vehicles, manufacturers are investing millions of dollars into the research of development of alternative chemistries and designs that will enable us to go farther and charge more quickly.

We always try to keep you in the loop on these “breakthroughs” in technologies like solid-state batteries, LMFP chemistries, and of course, sodium-ion batteries. Previously, we’ve seen BYD’s main competitor, CATL, commit to developing and producing sodium-ion cells, and other companies have presented their individual breakthroughs.

Today, FinDreams announced it has found a partner in Huaihai Holding Group to produce sodium-ion batteries in mass quantities to power small EVs locally and globally.

BYD looks to lead the pack in sodium-ion batteries

According to a recent press release from Huaihai Holding Group, it has signed a strategic agreement with FinDreams to establish the sodium-ion battery joint venture. The venture will include the implementation of a production base at the Xuzhou Economic and Technological Development Zone in the Jiangsu province of China.

Top comment by Dafty

I often wonder why these new batteries that are less energy dense aren't just used in stationary storage applications. Often those huge grid level battery banks aren't constrained by the physical size of the batteries. So why not use sodium batteries, or LiFePo4, or even huge flow batteries for those? Save the energy dense cells for actual cars.

FinDreams will provide the battery products and services to Huaihai, which, in return, will provide its expertise in sales and marketing – particularly in small vehicles. Together, the companies shared they intend to jointly become the world’s largest supplier of sodium battery systems for micro vehicles.

By nature, sodium-ion batteries deliver lower energy density than traditional lithium-ion cells but cost notably less to produce. Their main component (sodium) is also safer and more abundant than lithium. The chemistry is ideal for smaller EVs that generally deliver less range and have less demand on a daily mobility basis – hence why the companies are focusing on this segment as a starting point.

Huaihai said it believes expanded production of sodium-ion batteries will parallel the growing demand for mini-vehicle batteries in China and eventually globally. Perhaps not in the US, but Europe could also serve as an enticing market for smaller, cheaper EVs powered by sodium-ion batteries.

At this point, it is unclear what level of energy density BYD’s new batteries will provide or what EV we may first see them implemented in. However, the company’s public commitment to mass production and its goal to become the world’s largest supplier showcases its dedication and confidence in the chemistry.

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BYD establishes joint venture to produce sodium-ion batteries