“BYD respects Tesla, and we admire Tesla too,” said Lian Yubo, BYD executive vice president. a video interview
with an anchor of CGTN. “We are now good friends with Elon Musk and we will be providing him with batteries soon,” he added.
The video was released on Wednesday by the anchor on the Chinese social media platform Weibo.
BYD and Tesla †TSLA†
did not immediately respond to requests from CNN Business for comment.
BYD has been making its lithium iron phosphate (LFP) “Blade Batteries” for use since 2020
own cars and for sale to other car manufacturers, such as Toyota †TM†
the leaf-shaped battery is thinner and longer than conventional lithium iron cells, thus can maximize the space available in the battery pack. It’s also less likely to catch fire, even if badly damaged, according to BYD.
Tesla currently uses LFP batteries from the Chinese company CATL in nearly half of its cars. Tesla also uses nickel and cobalt batteries, supplied by LG Energy Solution and Panasonic †PCFF†
Tesla’s sales in China were strong at the start of this year, putting the automaker in first place among all-electric brands. It delivered 65,814 vehicles from its Shanghai plant in March, the majority of which were sold to the Chinese market. That number was 85% higher than a year ago.
But that was before authorities closed Shanghai for two months to contain the worst Covid outbreak in the city. Tesla’s sales fell 98% in April.
BYD, one of the largest sellers of new energy vehicles in China, was not affected by the country’s sweeping lockdowns. In April, BYD continued to dominate the market, selling a record 106,000 cars.
Analysts have attributed BYD’s resiliency in sales to its “vertical integrated supply chain.” The business model has made BYD less vulnerable to supply chain disruptions during China’s Covid lockdowns, while rivals have had to downsize production due to shortages of chips and batteries.
— CNN’s Beijing office contributed to this report.