Tesla and BYD are two of the inarguable leaders when it comes to electric vehicle (EV) proliferation.
The US and Chinese companies create many of their own technologies in-house, and have scaled up production more than any of the older players so far.
While they’re arch-competitors in key EV battlegrounds, particularly as the Warren Buffett-backed BYD pushes hard beyond China, they’ve also had symbiotic relations.
BYD has been gearing up to supply Tesla with its low-cost, in-house Blade batteries using lithium iron phosphate (LFP) chemistry – a more stable and cheaper type of pack.
Most Tesla Model 3 and Y vehicles in Australia are already sold with LFP batteries, made by BYD rival CATL.
According to this Reuters report from June 2022, BYD’s executive vice president and former head of engineering told China’s state-run TV network CGTN that“we are now good friends with Elon Musk because we are preparing to supply batteries to Tesla very soon”.
However, a recent report out of Korea’s Hankyung claimed that this deal was on the fritz, with Tesla looking to LG Energy Solutions (Korea) and CATL (China) to fill its LFP battery needs.
This report has since been rubbished by those closest to the apparent deal.
“That media report is false. Relations between Tesla and BYD are positive,” Elon Musk said in a tweet on Tuesday.
Meantime, BYD said that the report “is not in line with the actual situation.”
Thus, the odds of cheap Tesla variants powered by BYD LFP batteries still look short.