BYD has come a long way from its early days manufacturing mobile phone batteries and cheap gas cars. Now the top EV producer in the world, BYD produces electric vehicles at affordable prices, making them a practical option for the huge and varied market of Chinese car buyers. BYD also makes electric buses that run in over 70 countries and has dominated the world’s plug-in hybrid market.
The company’s success stems from its technological lead in lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries. Traditionally, LFP batteries didn’t store as much energy as nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) batteries, which were used in 95% of the electric cars produced a few years ago. BYD’s versions—particularly its signature product, the Blade Battery—solve this problem via a new structure that uses fewer parts and packs more cells into the same space. LFP batteries are also safer and cheaper than NMC batteries.
Over time, BYD has reshaped the EV supply chain. From mining critical minerals to designing the chips used in cars, BYD does everything in house and sometimes also sells its products to competitors. Even Tesla is now buying batteries from the Shenzhen-based company.