BYD Shifts Battery Strategy for Plug-In Hybrids Over Durability Concerns

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Chinese automaker BYD is set to halt the production of pouch-type battery cells for its plug-in hybrid vehicles due to concerns over durability and the potential risk of electrolyte leakage. While no instances of battery leaks have been reported, BYD believes pouch cells pose a higher risk. The company is in the process of converting production lines in Shaanxi and Zhejiang provinces to manufacture prismatic batteries instead. Sources suggest that BYD plans to completely phase out pouch cells by early 2025. The move is driven by the company’s commitment to ensuring the reliability and safety of its hybrid vehicles.

Transition to Prismatic Batteries

BYD has faced challenges with pouch cells in the past, notably recalling 60,000 Tang DM-I hybrids in 2022 due to a battery defect that could lead to thermal runaway. To minimize disruptions in hybrid vehicle production, BYD will continue to produce pouch cells at a factory in Qinghai province for the time being. The company’s decision aligns with industry trends, as Volkswagen shifted away from pouch cells in 2021, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has expressed reservations about their use. The new battery strategy for BYD’s plug-in hybrids will adopt a structure similar to the Blade battery used in its electric vehicles.

Emphasis on Safety and Reliability

BYD’s move reflects a broader industry focus on enhancing the safety and reliability of electric vehicle batteries. Pouch cells have been associated with potential leakage risks, prompting automakers to explore alternative battery designs. As BYD prioritizes the transition to prismatic batteries, this strategic shift reinforces the company’s commitment to delivering high-quality and secure energy solutions in its plug-in hybrid vehicles. The phased approach to battery production changes aims to maintain a steady supply while addressing concerns related to pouch cells.