Chinese Battery Maker BYD to Supply EV Batteries to Ford Motor Company

Chinese Battery Maker BYD to Supply EV Batteries to Ford Motor Company

Author: Eric Walz   

Chinese battery maker BYD Co Ltd (BYD), will supply EV batteries to U.S. automaker Ford Motor Co, a document on the website of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology showed on Monday. The news was first reported by Reuters.

The batteries will support Ford's electric vehicle production in China. Ford's China joint venture with Changan Automobile is currently seeking government approval to build a plug-in hybrid model equipped with BYD's batteries, according to the document. BYD, which is backed by U.S. investor Warren Buffett, said it would supply EV components including batteries and power management devices to Ford.

Ford and BYD did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Shenzhen-based BYD was founded in 1995 as a battery company and has grown into a leading energy solutions provider. The company manufactures a variety of clean energy products including, electrified vehicles, solar energy and large-size energy storage cells. 

BYD is also one of the world's biggest manufacturers of electric buses, supplying buses for city mass transit. In February, BYD announced it will deliver 130 all-electric buses to the city of Los Angeles as part of its ongoing effort to convert its entire public transit bus fleet to zero-emission vehicles.

BYD is backed by investor Warren Buffet, with his company Berkshire Hathaway owning roughly an 8% stake.

The deal with Ford is BYD's first-known battery supply deal with a major global automaker. 

Automakers Are Turning to Asian Suppliers for EV Batteries

Automakers around the world with little experience making lithium-ion batteries are turning to Asian suppliers like BYD in order to secure a steady supply of batteries for their future EV plans.

China's Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL), is the world's biggest EV battery maker. The company supplies batteries to automakers BMW, Volkswagen, Toyota Motor Corp, Honda Motor Co and Daimler.

In April, Toyota announced the establishment of a joint venture company with BYD. The new company will focus on the research and development of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) for the Chinese market.

South korean battery maker LG Chem is also set to become a major supplier to the auto industry. GM and LG Chem are investing up to $2.3 billion in a joint venture battery factory in Lordstown, Ohio. The factory will produce GM's new Ultium batteries that the automaker unveiled in March.

LG Chem is currently the battery supplier for GM's Chevy Bolt EV. Electric automaker Tesla also contracted LG Chem and CATL to make the batteries for the vehicles being built at its new Shanghai factory.

China is the world's biggest auto market and global automakers. Both Ford's and its biggest U.S. rival General Motors have entered into joint venture partnerships with Chinese automakers to build models for the local market, including New Energy Vehicles (NEVs). NEVs include plug-in hybrid and fully electric models.

Ford's plans for China match those of rival General Motors. China has been GM's largest retail sales market since 2012. GM delivered more than 3.64 million vehicles in China in 2018.

Last year Ford announced it planned to launch more than 30 new or significantly redesigned models in China by the end of 2021. Many of these new models will be fully electric.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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