New Model Y with BYD battery sustains fast charging longer than the CATL version as Tesla stops deliveries
Tesla recently endorsed a second supplier of cheaper, safer LFP cells for its base EV models with standard range. It is none other than its frenemy BYD - Tesla's biggest competitor when it comes to electric cars - but now also the world's second largest EV battery maker after CATL.
CATL used to be the sole supplier of LFP batteries for the standard range Model Y and Model 3, but now the new Model Y batches produced in the Giga Berlin factory come with BYD battery packs. The fight of the Model Y with BYD blade vs CATL Kirin battery versions is just starting, but it seems that the newer Model Y already has an advantage.
First Model Y owners who took delivery of the BYD battery variant put it to the test and compared its charging curve with the current model with a CATL pack. The BYD Model Y shot straight up to its peak 172 kW charging and stayed there until the battery hit 50% charge, then it started tapering off until the two curves met at 90%.
The Model Y with 62 kWh CATL battery, on the other hand, wasn't able to maintain 172 kW charging speeds, and dropped off almost immediately, gradually reaching 50 kW at the 90% mark. For the whole time in between, BYD's 60 kWh blade battery pack managed to maintain much faster charging speeds than the CATL variant.
The "blade" term refers to the packaging fashion rather than the chemistry as it offers safer, space-saving technology. According to BYD, "while undergoing nail penetration tests, the Blade Battery emitted neither smoke, nor fire after being penetrated, and its surface temperature only reached 30 to 60°C." The battery pack has also been "subjected to other extreme test conditions, such as being crushed, bent, being heated in a furnace to 300°C and overcharged by 260%." "None of these resulted in a fire or explosion," claims BYD, while the nickel-based performance EV batteries "exceeded 500°C and violently burned" during the nail test.
Being able to sustain fast charging input for longer raises some longevity questions, but BYD may also be using different chemistry or optimization tweaks than CATL. The BYD Tang SUV that is sold with a blade battery offers some reassurance in its promo materials when it comes to lifespan.
"For longevity, the Blade Battery tops 1.2 million km after 3,000 cycles of charging / discharging, while headline performance figures for the Blade Battery-powered BYD Tang include a single-charge range of 505km (NEDC) and acceleration from 0-100 km/h in just 4.6-seconds. The BYD Tang's Blade Battery installation recharges from 30% to 80% of full capacity in an impressively short 30-minutes, with DC power output of 110kW," informs BYD, so the sustained 172 kW charging rate of the new Tesla Model Y may be par for the course.
Tesla, however, is rumored to be talking with CATL over its next-gen M3P phosphate batteries that allow for some superior energy density and charging speeds, so the BYD vs CATL fight on the Model Y may be far from over.
Unfortunately, the local forums report that Tesla didn't register the BYD Model Y properly and has suspended its deliveries for now. Since the new Model Y has a lot of drivertrain changes under the hood, as well as structural differences in unibody casting, it has to be registered anew, so those who'd like to take the BYD battery version for a spin will have to wait for Tesla's registration conundrum to be solved.