On January 15, BAIC new energy held a press conference on the 10th anniversary of its establishment in Yizhuang Blue Valley base. At the press conference, BAIC new energy disclosed many ongoing strategic layouts, including exploring the possibility of cooperation with peers such as BYD. “Our battery cooperation with BYD is under discussion and evaluation.” Ma fanglie, general manager of BAIC new energy, said. Recently, BYD’s new blade battery products have attracted much attention, and whether BYD can carry out more cooperation with its peers as a battery supplier has also attracted attention.
Hidden worries of BAIC new energy
In 2020, the domestic new energy vehicle market will face unprecedented challenges. The withdrawal of subsidies for new energy vehicles and the domestic production of Tesla are considered to change the existing competition pattern. As the leader of electric vehicles, BAIC new energy has completed the sorting and upgrading of new brands and product camps in 2019, but the pressure value is still high.
According to the statistics of production and sales express released by BAIC bluevale, the cumulative output of BAIC new energy in 2018 was 110069 vehicles, and the sales volume in that year was 158012 vehicles. The difference between production and sales volume is not large, but the data in 2019 is quite surprising. The cumulative output of BAIC NEW energy in 2019 was 44337 vehicles, while the cumulative sales volume in that year was 150601 vehicles, and the difference between production and sales volume exceeded 100000 vehicles. From this perspective, BAIC new energy even shows signs of overcapacity to a certain extent.
At this celebration, BAIC new energy released the “2029 plan”, which includes the battery plan for the next decade – to build a diversified energy system with the “Trinity” energy driving system of lithium-ion battery, solid-state battery and fuel cell.
Although most vehicle manufacturers emphasize that they “specialize in the technology industry” and should focus on the development of vehicle technology, among domestic vehicle manufacturers, in addition to BYD, great wall has also begun to build its own battery industry sector in a high-profile manner in the past two years, and has also launched a new concept of battery technology. Internationally, Volkswagen and other OEMs have also carried out research and development in new technology fields such as solid-state batteries. GM and BMW have entered the research and development field of cell materials. This makes these main engine plants have the role of power battery supplier at the same time.
Ma fanglie said that the cooperative exploration with BYD involves not only the battery field, but also operation, technology and other aspects. Later, he added that “we are also cooperating with the Great Wall”. Ma fanglie believed that on the common goal of jointly expanding the cake of new energy vehicles, the win-win cooperation of domestic auto enterprises is the general trend.
“Gratitude and resentment” between BAIC new energy and BYD
According to the statistical results of insurance volume in 2019, BYD and BAIC new energy ranked first and second. The two car companies accounted for 31% of the insurance volume of new energy passenger cars in 2019. If BYD can become a battery supplier of BAIC new energy, it is very likely to rewrite the pattern of power battery industry.
Although BAIC new energy mentioned the cooperation with BYD this time, in fact, the interaction between BAIC new energy and BYD is not the first time. In February 2018, Xu Heyi, chairman of BAIC group, personally led a team to visit BYD. The two teams exchanged achievements and experiences in core technologies and key parts such as three electricity system, automotive electronics and new energy vehicle chassis, and reached a high consensus on the direction of cooperation. It also said that BYD hopes to establish more in-depth cooperation with BAIC new energy in one-stop service, three electricity series products, intelligent automotive electronics and so on.
A month later, the BAIC new energy BYD Auto parts exhibition themed technology exchange meeting was held in Beijing new energy vehicle science and Technology Innovation Center (China Blue Valley). At this exchange meeting, the two teams conducted in-depth exchanges on the achievements and experience of core technologies and key parts such as power battery, motor electronic control, powertrain, automotive electronics, components, body accessories and chassis of new energy vehicles. In addition to the deputy general manager of BAIC new energy, some managers of the procurement center attended the exchange meeting.
In the field of battery supply, BAIC group has a relatively stable supply system. According to the statistics of tramway data think tank, in the recommended catalogue of the 1st-11th batch of new energy vehicles in 2019, the single battery suppliers of Beijing new energy vehicles are mainly Ningde times, Funeng technology, GuoXuan high tech and Lishen.
It is not easy for BAIC new energy to abandon these battery suppliers and find “Xinhuan”. Taking Funeng technology as an example, its power battery is not only dedicated to BAIC new energy, but also jointly invested 8 billion yuan with BAIC group to establish a power battery joint venture in September 2017; GuoXuan high tech is the investor of round B financing of BAIC new energy. It’s just that BAIC new energy’s “exclusive” battery pack plant has been in trouble recently, but the cooperation between the two sides remains unchanged and there is no sign of withdrawal.
At the same time, the battery factory jointly invested with South Korea SK has also been completed and put into operation in December 2019. The lithium ion soft pack battery produced by the latter will provide supporting facilities for BAIC group’s high-end brand arcfox. However, like many manufacturers, because the battery is the core component of electric vehicles, the improvement of its technology and the breakthrough of cost bottleneck are carried out in a variety of ways, and the initiative is not in the hands of the vehicle manufacturers. Therefore, diversified battery technology application and cooperation have become the common choice of vehicle manufacturers including BAIC new energy.
For BYD, in the past two years, in addition to developing the whole vehicle business of new energy vehicles, it has also promoted the external supply of core parts, especially power batteries. According to the statistics of tramway, BYD has provided battery support for passenger cars of Chang’an new energy and commercial vehicles of Zoomlion, Shudu, Dongfeng and other enterprises. If BYD power battery can enter the supply system of BAIC new energy, it will be a big step forward for BYD’s battery business.