BYD’s booming November sales topped October’s total of 81,040, which then represented a 249% year-over-year increase.
“The project is still in the confidential stage of development, please refer to the announcement of both sides,” Chinese media cls.cn quoted an unnamed BYD‘s source as saying.
Toyota will release an all-electric compact car in China next year that will use BYD’s core technologies, including its lithium iron phosphate batteries and lower-cost engineering, Reuters reported earlier today, citing four people familiar with the matter.
The model will be unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show next April and will likely be the second model in Toyota’s bZ series, but for now will only be sold in China, according to the report.
The model will be positioned below high-end electric cars like the Tesla Model Y and NIO ES6, but above the extremely cheap Hongguang Mini EV, the report said.
The race is on to secure the global supply of lithium, a necessary component in the production of batteries for EVs.
Even though China’s lithium reserves rank as the world’s fourth largest, the silvery metal is mainly found in the salt lakes around Tibet and Qinghai, a sparsely populated Chinese province spread across the high-altitude Tibetan plateau. That makes it difficult to refine and transport. While the production of lithium carbonate from Qinghai Lake has doubled this year, demand still outpaces supply, according to Dong Yang, the vice president of leading automotive think tank China EV 100. To make up the shortfall, China imports about 70% of lithium from overseas. And with the prospect of even more lithium needed as the EV revolution picks up speed, companies are stepping up efforts to secure supply for its dominant refinery sector.
Ganfeng Lithium, one of the world’s top lithium producers, bid for a stake in Canada’s Millennial Lithium in July, while battery making giant CATL, led by billionaire Zeng Yuqun, joined the race a few months later, trumping Ganfeng. In the end, it was a third company, Lithium Americas, that emerged victorious (although Ganfeng is a shareholder in Lithium Americas). Undeterred, Ganfeng in September bought out its partner, International Lithium, in the Mariana project in Argentina, one of the biggest deposits globally. Last month, Zijin Mining paid around $755 million cash for Neo Lithium, a Canadian group that also has operations in Argentina.
Carmakers are getting in on the action too, with BYD earlier this month inking a four-year supply deal with Do-Fluoride New Materials for at least 56,050 tons of lithium hexafluorophosphate through December 2025. Lyu Xiangyang, the cousin of BYD founder Wang Chuanfu whose loan helped Wang establish the company in 1995, also has investments in spodumene, a lithium-bearing raw mineral, in Sichuan province, which should bolster BYD’s future supplies.
Meanwhile » Stellantis said it has secured a five-year supply of battery-grade lithium hydroxide to support its plans to convert to 98% electrified vehicles by 2025. » Washington Post »
Stellantis, the company that combined PSA Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler, signed a binding agreement with Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd. in Germany, which uses geothermal energy to produce the battery-quality lithium hydroxide from brine without using fossil fuels. Vulcan will supply between 81,000 metric tons and 99,000 metric tons of lithium hydroxide over the five-year term of the agreement.
Wolfgang Egger, the former Audi design chief who is now the Global Design Director at BYD, has designed the Dolphin. The little electric hatchback is the first BYD model to adopt the company’s “marine design concepts,” and it premieres a new logo as well. The new Chinese EV features a swoopy but odd-faced front and sporty side and rear structures. The interior has a fluidic and minimalist design theme and a huge central touchscreen in landscape orientation. The cabin has more than 20 storage spaces, and the boot can accommodate four 20-inch cabin bags.
“This is our urban dream. It is a vision. It’s not just a car, but it is a device for future mobility in the city. It’s compact, it’s fresh, individual, and an icon. As you remember, I always say that a car should be defined only by three lines (inaudible). It’s a new architecture for electric mobility, and only these three lines, they define the shape. It’s really unique. It’s an icon. You see once, and you never forget again, can you?”
» Wolfgang Egger, Design Directory, BYD
The Glasgow Declaration on Zero Emission Cars and Vans, announced at the COP26 climate summit, includes a commitment to “work towards all sales of new cars and vans being zero emission globally by 2040, and by no later than 2035 in leading markets”.
Chinese-owned Sweden-based Volvo has already committed to going fully electric by 2030.
Countries that did sign the declaration include » Austria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Lithuania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay.
Major auto producing countries notably absent include » China, Germany, Japan, and the United States.
Canadian provinces of British Columbia, and Quebec also committed.
When it comes to their favorite electric car brand, Chinese consumers’ top choice is Warren Buffett-backed BYD, according to a survey by Bernstein.
Elon Musk’s Tesla ranks second, and third on the list is Germany’s Volkswagen, Bernstein said. The firm cited the latest results from a regular survey of Chinese consumers in the third quarter of the last few years. This year’s survey, released Thursday, covered about 1,600 respondents.
Sales of new energy vehicles surged 148% in September, data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers showed, spurred by Beijing’s promotion of greener vehicles to cut pollution. The better-than-expected figures have offset worries over supply issues, according to Kelvin Lau, an analyst at Daiwa Capital Markets. “Automakers are expecting a stronger fourth quarter and likely to raise their sales guidances,” he said.
Government support is key for the attractiveness of EV names, particularly in the wake of crackdowns on other sectors. “Policy risk is very low compared to other industries like education, internet or property,” said Toliver Ma, analyst at Guotai Junan Securities Co., who added that Chinese companies that have links to Tesla Inc.,which is trading near a record, may get an added boost.