BYD has officially broken ground at its new Chongqing battery plant in a move that diversifies its battery cell production capacity beyond its older factories in Eastern China. In a ceremony on Friday, BYD officially started work on the new factory that was announced last year.
According to Xinhua Net, BYD will fill the new factory with eight automated lithium-ion battery cell production lines. The factory will look beyond the cell and bundle them up into modules and battery packs built to suit BYD’s wide range of electrified vehicles that include small passenger vehicles, heavy trucks, forklifts, and full size articulating buses.
The move to build its battery cells into modules and packs in the same location is a theme we have seen at other automotive and battery cell manufacturers as companies look beyond the traditional model of purchasing commodity battery cells to a more integrated approach.
It was the foundational idea behind Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada, where the company is already taking raw materials, turning them into cells, and ultimately into rolling chassis for its automotive factory in Fremont, California. Tesla plans to take the concept one step further next year when it is expected to start producing its yet-to-be-announced Model Y at the Nevada Gigafactory.
The first phase of construction at the new BYD factory will begin churning out battery cells within 12 months of the groundbreaking in support of the increased focus on the automotive industry and electric vehicles as a subset of that in Chongqing. The city has plans to increase its automobile production capacity to 3.2 million vehicles per year by 2022, of which 400,000 will be electric vehicles. Those EVs will need batteries and BYD clearly sees that need and is building for it today.
The new factory adds critical capacity nearby its existing automotive factory in the industrial city that has built itself up as an industrial hub in Central China. Chongqing finds itself in the news far less than China’s other megacities, but it is actually one of the four core cities in China and stands alongside Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin as the only four cities in China that are under the direct administration of the central government.