The BYD Seagull, which is expected to be launched in the second quarter of 2023, will be the first model with sodium-ion batteries and is expected to be priced as low as about $8,484, according to local media.
(Spy photo suspected to be of BYD's new model Seagull.)
A week ago local media reported that BYD plans to mass-produce sodium-ion batteries in the second quarter of 2023, though this was denied by the company. Now, another report mentions a similar plan and gives more details.
BYD's new all-electric minicar Seagull, which is currently undergoing road tests, will likely be the first to carry sodium-ion batteries, with the model's launch expected in the second quarter of 2023, local automotive outlet Yiche said in a report today, citing a conference call.
The BYD Seagull will be offered with both sodium-ion and lithium-ion battery versions, with the former expected to be priced as low as 60,000 yuan ($8,484) and the latter expected to be 80,000 yuan, the report said.
The BYD Seagull with sodium-ion batteries will have a range of 300 kilometers, while the lithium-ion version will have a range of 400 kilometers, according to the report.
BYD will begin testing the materials for the sodium-ion batteries in December and will conduct A and B samples in the first quarter of 2023, with preliminary results expected in June, the report said.
If the test results are satisfactory, the battery will be launched in the second quarter of 2023, otherwise, it will be launched in the third quarter, the report said.
In addition to the Seagull, BYD will also put sodium-ion batteries in lower-range versions of models priced above RMB 200,000, according to the report.
Sodium-ion batteries currently cost about the same as lithium batteries, which are RMB 650 per kWh. BYD aims to bring the cost per kWh down to RMB 500 by the time the battery is installed in high volume.
If lithium battery prices remain high through 2026, there is a window of opportunity for sodium-ion batteries to grow, the report said.
Local media outlet LatePost first reported BYD's plan on November 22, saying the company plans to mass produce sodium-ion batteries in the second quarter of 2023, and they will be in the Qin EV, Dolphin and new model Seagull.
The Qin EV and Dolphin are both all-electric vehicles priced at RMB100,000-150,000, and BYD's Seagull, to be launched next year, is a small A0-class sedan priced at RMB80,000-100,000, the report said.
After LatePost's report was published, Cailian cited BYD's response as saying that the news was untrue, but provided no further details.
Interestingly, Huang Qisen, deputy head of CATL's research center, said at a forum related to sodium-ion batteries yesterday that such batteries can generally meet the needs of models with a range of up to 400 kilometers.
This seems to be the first time that someone from the power battery giant has publicly mentioned the prospect of using this new type of battery in passenger cars.
With its pioneering AB battery system integration technology, CATL has achieved a mix of sodium ion and lithium ion, making sodium ion batteries expected to support electric models with a range of up to 500 kilometers, Huang said.