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China’s BYD Delays EV Factory; Solid-State Batteries ‘Unsafe’

BYD has set back plans for an EV factory in Vietnam, while CATL has said solid-state batteries are problematic and have safety issues

Visitors inspect China's BYD electric vehicles during its launch ceremony in Jakarta, Indonesia
Visitors inspect China's BYD EVs during a launch in Jakarta in January. The top Chinese EV maker is working on plants in Thailand and Indonesia, but has told officials in Vietnam it will delay building a factory there as the market has cooled in recent months. Photo: Reuters.


BYD, China’s top electric vehicle maker, has delayed its plan to build an EV factory in northern Vietnam, which would be its third in Southeast Asia.

That information came from a shareholders’ meeting on Thursday, from the manager of the industrial park where the plant will be built.

Meanwhile, in other EV news, Robin Zeng, the head of China’s top battery-maker CATL, has dismissed talk of a breakthrough in solid-state batteries, saying such a development is years from commercial realization – more on that below.


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Vietnam’s government said in May that BYD had decided to build a factory to manufacture and assemble electric cars in the northern Vietnamese province of Phu Tho, where the company has already a plant that produces tablets for Apple.

“Due to its strategy and the slowdown of the electric vehicle market, BYD slowed down (plans) to start construction,” said Luong Thanh Tung, vice chairman of Gelex Group, the company that runs the industrial park where BYD would build the new factory.

Speaking at a shareholders conference in Hanoi, Tung said that after lengthy negotiations, BYD had agreed to reserve 100 hectares of commercial land at the Phu Ha industrial park to build an electric vehicle factory.

But after delays, the two sides were now seeking a suitable time to start the project, he told the meeting.

BYD headquarters in China did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Thursday’s statements from Gelex.


EV market tipped to slow

Growth in the global EV market is expected to slow this year because of a fall in state subsidies.

The Vietnamese government’s announcement about BYD’s investment plans followed a visit to the country by BYD head Wang Chuanfu in May. The statement did not indicate a starting date or the size of the investment for the project.

At a meeting with Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Tran Hong Ha in May, Chuanfu said he hoped for “favourable conditions to complete investment procedures,” according to the Vietnamese government.

BYD is also building an EV factory in Thailand and plans to build EV facilities in Indonesia.

Last year it sold globally over 3 million electric vehicles, including battery EVs and plug-in hybrids.


‘Solid-state batteries impractical, unsafe’

Meanwhile, the other big news in the EV sector was revelations by CATL battery chief Robin Zeng, who poured cold water on suggestions that solid-state batteries would be developed soon.

Zeng told the Financial Times that solid-state batteries were years away from commercialization because the tech “did not work well enough, lacked durability and still had safety problems”.

While the world’s top carmaker, Toyota, has claimed it had made progress and could deliver a solid-state battery by 2027, the Chinese PhD physicist did not believe it, saying he had been funding work on such a goal for 10 years and had a team that was “second to none”, and they had made little significant progress because of “a lot of showstoppers.”

So, his group was now targeting sodium-ion batteries and condensed-matter batteries that use a semi-solid material, the report said.

Zeng has been forced to ditch any idea of setting up battery plants in the US because of geopolitical rivalry, but confirmed that they were helping Tesla with battery production in Nevada, although he refused to call it a licensing arrangement.


  • Reuters with additional input and editing by Jim Pollard



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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


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