Update: Details about the battery management system added to the introduction.
A battery technology christened the BYD Blade battery promised to set a new benchmark in battery safety when the announcement was made in 2020. The BYD Blade battery was planned to be used in select cars, but now BYD has deployed the tech in multiple models, including the Qin Plus, Song Plus, BYD Tang EV, BYD Yuan Plus (BYD Atto 3), and the E2.
The BYD Blade battery technology was under development for several years and comes with a lithium-ion phosphate (LFP) chemistry as opposed to the usual nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) mix. Instead of having multiple modules, the BYD Blade Battery stacks all the cells together, saving over 50% space compared to other battery blocks.
According to He Long, Vice President of BYD and Chairman of FinDreams Battery Co, the Blade batteries have four various advantages:
- slow heat release
- low heat generation
- high starting temperature for exothermic reactions
- ability to not release oxygen during a breakdown
BYD was one of the first companies to use a battery thermal management system (BMS) to ensure that the temperature of the batteries remains at the optimum level in all extreme weather conditions. The energy efficiency of BYD Blade batteries is so high that it allows the company to produce NEVs with some of the industry’s longest ranges. The company’s efforts in the development of battery technology over the last 27 years have truly paid off.
No smoke or fire after nail penetration
BYD says its LFP technology is at the heart of its new energy vehicle (NEV) line-up. The largest manufacturer of LFP batteries expects them to account for more than 60% of the global power battery market by 2024. The cobalt-free batteries, produced using a material possessing great thermal stability than other battery alternatives, have passed stringent safety tests, including overcharging tests, crush tests, and heat tests.
Nail penetration test
BYD’s engineers subjected the battery to nail penetration, heating to 572º Fahrenheit, overcharging to 260%, and structural rigidity tests. The battery did not emit smoke or fire during nail penetration, and the surface temperature ranged between 30-60 degrees. In the same tests, a ternary lithium battery went past 500º C and burned, and a conventional LFP block battery reached a temperature of 200º to 400º C but didn’t emit fire or smoke.
Three types of batteries were put through the nail penetration test in the lab. Firstly, an NMC battery was subjected to this test with an egg placed on its top. The NMC battery exploded instantly when the nail went through. In the second test, a regular LFP battery was penetrated, again with a raw egg placed on top to check overheating. As the test proceeded, the egg was burnt, and temperatures of up to 400º were recorded. And lastly, when the nail penetrated the BYD blade battery, the egg remained uncooked, indicating no heating problems.
That’s not it. BYD put the Blade battery into a 300º C furnace from which the unit emerged unscathed. Even after overcharging it to 260%, no fire or explosion was reported. BYD performed an extreme structure test where a 46-tonne truck drove over the Blade battery, but that didn’t cause leakage, deformation, or smoke. BYD said that the battery was perfectly intact after the test and still usable in an EV.
BYD Blade Battery Specifications
The BYD Blade battery comes with no compromises when it comes to specifications. Its single-cell design is compact, measuring 37.7 inches (96 cm) long, 3.5 inches (9 cm) wide, and 0.5-inch (1.35 cm) tall. The single cells are positioned in an array and inserted in a blade-type arrangement into a pack. It promises a life of over 1.2 million km after 3,000 charging/discharging cycles. This arrangement allows a life span of over 740,000 miles (1.2 million km) after 3000 charge/discharge cycles.
|Aspect||BYD Blade battery cell specification|
|Nominal Voltage||3.2 V|
|Maximum Charging Voltage||3.65 V|
|Energy Content||646.4 Wh|
|Volumetric Energy Density||448 Wh/L|
|Weight||3.9 kg (est.)|
|Gravimetric Energy Density||166 Wh/kg|
|Cycle Life||3,000+ cycles|
The BYD Blade technology doesn’t compromise performance either. New BYD cars based on the e-platform 3.0 come standard with the BYD Blade battery.
Video source: BYD Europe on YouTube
The BYD Seal (BYD Atto 4 overseas) offers RWD and AWD drivetrain layouts and comes with three power configurations: 150 kW, 180 kW, and the dual-motor set-up with 160 kW front + 230 kW rear motors. It will also get a 112 mph (180 kmph) top speed. The highest specification BYD vehicles on the e-platform 3.0 can go from 0 to 60 mph (0-97 kmph) in just 2.9 seconds and achieve a range of up to 600 miles (966 km). Moreover, thanks to an operating voltage of 800 volts, they can provide a range of 90 miles (145 km) in just 5 minutes of charging.
BYD believes that some electric vehicle manufacturers may have compromised battery safety while aiming for a higher range. In pursuit of energy density, battery safety has been overlooked. With the Blade battery, BYD aims to bring focus to the all-important aspect of security.
Other manufacturers have also shown interest in the BYD blade battery. Toyota has shown interest in the Warren-Buffett-backed brand’s technology, and its upcoming Toyota bZ sedan will reportedly use the BYD Blade battery. Moreover, an upcoming Toyota-Suzuki electric mid-size SUV will also get the BYD Blade battery. Rumors swirled in the Chinese media last year that the future USD 25,000 Tesla Model 2/Tesla Model Q would use the BYD Blade battery. After Elon Musk confirmed in early 2022 that they had stopped working on the budget electric car project, the reports faded.
Second-generation BYD Blade battery
Reports have emerged that the Chinese automaker is developing a second-generation Blade battery with a high energy density of 180 Wh/kg, a nearly 17% increase over the current energy density of 150 Wh/kg. Mated to a fifth-generation chip, the new battery would reduce power consumption by 20% and increase the driving range by 3%.
The upgrade would also result in improved power and torque, according to an article from k.sina.com.cn. The report also claims that the next-gen BYD blade battery is likely to debut in one of the BYD Ocean series models (BYD Sea Lion, BYD Seagull, etc.). However, there is no official word about the same from the brand yet.
Featured Image Source: BYD