Tesla Motors Inc Batteries Face Threat From Buffett-Backed BYD

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Tesla will face new competition going forward as Build Your Dreams, popularly known as BYD, makes a push towards plug-in cars. The Warren Buffett backed Chinese firm is already producing all-electric buses in America.

BYD ramping its battery capacity

BYD is striving towards gaining a global foothold. The Chinese company will also compete with Tesla’s gigafactory with a battery business of its own. According to a report from Reuters, BYD will clock around 10 GWh of battery production capacity by the end of the year, and by 2020, it is expected to have around 34 GWh of production capacity, in line with the 35 GWh expected from Tesla’s gigafactory. At present, the Chinese company has around 6 GWh of capacity every year for the next five years.

BYD is not the only company that is ramping its battery capacity. Foxconn, a major supplier of the iPhone, is also spending hundreds of millions on a new battery factory. Apple, on the other hand, is poaching battery engineers from companies such as A123 Systems, and Samsung recently purchased Magna’s battery production division.

More competition for Tesla

Imergy Power Systems, which is into Vanadium flow batteries, launched its latest product, the EPS250, which is a battery system that has the capacity to deliver up to 250 kW with a one megawatt-hour capacity.

Tesla has already announced that they will be entering behind-the-meter storage. Herve Mazzocco, Imergy’s VP of Solutions, also, wished “Good Luck” to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, adding “Tesla’s technology is useful and has its place. You won’t be seeing flow batteries in cell phones, laptop computers, or electric cars, so there’s still a good market for Li-ion.” However, for stationary energy storage, flow batteries are a better bet and offer a longer life cycle, Mazzocco told Engineering.com.

Li-ion battery technology is used in a slew of devices, suggesting a further drop in price with improvements in technology. However, it is still to be seen if Li-ion will be able to outperform flow batteries in non-mobile applications.

So going forward, Tesla and partner Panasonic will have to put up a fight for becoming the largest battery producer against BYD and others in line.

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