According to insider information, BYD is considering building a battery cell factory in the UK to supply Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). Corresponding talks between BYD and JLR are currently underway. However, the unclear future trade relationship of Great Britain with the EU is delaying BYD’s decision.
JLR and BYD are also investigating whether they will cooperate in the development of electric drive systems. This was reported by the trade magazine Automotive News, citing a person familiar with the processes as the source.
In addition to the still unclear status of economic relations between the EU and Great Britain, in other words, Brexit is another hurdle. According to the source, BYD prefers a “more structured agreement of cooperation and not a simple supplier relationship”. This wording leaves some room for manoeuvre – for example, mutual equity investments or the establishment of a production joint venture would be conceivable. However, it appears that the Chinese want their partner to participate in the investment in the battery cell plant. According to Automotive News, the company is also looking into other European locations – if JLR does not play along.
With the Jaguar I-Pace, Jaguar Land Rover so far only offers a fully electric model, but it is being built at Magna Steyr in Austria – the battery cells come from the European plant of LG Chem in Poland. However, the Castle Bromwich plant in England is currently being converted for the production of fully electric cars, and the EV successor to the Jaguar XJ is also to be produced there. JLR intends to launch further E-models based on the flexible MLA platform, which enables PHEVs and MHEVs as well as BEVs.
Although BYD already operates two plants in Europe, it is not battery cells but e-buses that they build in Komarom (Hungary) and Beauvais (France). The Chinese group has already achieved several sales successes with the electric buses in Europe – most recently 15 electric buses were delivered in Madrid. Besides, sales of BYD’s first electric car, the electric SUV Tang 600EV, are scheduled to start in Europe before the end of this year – but for the time being only in Norway as a model test.
BYD was founded in 1995 as a battery manufacturer, the BYD Auto division (which is responsible for the E-cars as well as the E-buses) has only been in existence since 2003. So far, BYD produces the no battery cells in Europe yet – these are imported from China. In March BYD introduced a new LFP battery. The so-called ‘Blade Battery‘ is supposed to have a higher energy density and above all be safer. The Blade Battery will be installed for the first time in the Han electric limousine. This model could later be offered in Europe.