Chinese car manufacturer BYD is gearing up to start supplying Tesla with its batteries.
The world’s largest manufacturer of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles already supplies other automakers with its batteries, including Toyota. It is also responsible for developing the innovative Blade battery using lithium-iron-phosphate and said to be a safer alternative to more traditional battery designs.
While recently speaking with China’s state-owned CGTN, BYD executive vice president Lian Yubo said that Tesla will soon become one of its clients. “We are now good friends with Elon Musk because we are preparing to supply batteries to Tesla very soon,” Yubo noted.
Tesla sources its current lithium-iron-phosphate from battery giant CATL and has been using these batteries in the cars manufactured at its Shanghai Gigafactory. CATL has become such an important supplier for Tesla that nearly half of all the vehicles Tesla built in the first quarter were those equipped with lithium-iron-phosphate batteries.
Reuters notes that these serve as a cheaper alternative to the nickel-cobalt battery cells typically used throughout the West. Tesla sources some of its nickel-cobalt cells from Panasonic and LG Energy Solutions.
Details regarding a battery supply deal between BYD and Tesla aren’t yet known and the two car manufacturers are not provided specifics about the deal. A timeline for the deal has yet to be announced and it is also uncertain if BYD will supply Tesla with its new Blade-style battery cells or some other cell format.