Chinese automobile and rechargeable battery manufacturer BYD is “progressing rapidly” with its new EV (electric vehicle) battery business, says UOB Kay Hian analyst Ken Lee in a Sept 29 note. Lee is maintaining his “buy” call on the company, with a raised target price to HK$150.00 ($26.54) from HK$95.00.

BYD produces automobiles, rechargeable batteries and handset components in China. According to Lee, it will double the production capacity for its new blade battery from 13Gwh currently to 26Gwh in 2021 by adding eight new production lines to the Chongqing plant. This is in place to meet in-house EV manufacturing and expected strong demand from external customers (Chinese and global OEMs). 

“As such, we raise our 2021-22 EPS estimates by 3% and 12% respectively,” says Lee.

BYD announced the launch of its new blade LFP (lithium iron-phosphate) battery (or blade battery) in March. Blade battery refers to blade-shaped single-cell battery, which can be placed in an array and inserted into a battery pack like a blade. The battery pack and the blade battery form a cell-to-pack (CTP) system, skipping the module stage. 

The blade battery pack boasts 50% greater volumetric energy density and costs 20-30% cheaper than the conventional LFP battery pack, says Lee. In addition, the blade battery pack is cheaper, safer and more durable than the NCM (nickel magnesium cobalt) battery pack.

In April, BYD formed a joint venture (JV) with Toyota to do R&D for electric vehicles (EVs) and the EVs developed by the JV will be manufactured by Toyota and sold under the Toyota brand. BYD will probably supply the battery for the new EVs by the JV, says Lee. 

Meanwhile, BYD will supply battery for a China-made plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) model of Ford. This marks BYD’s first-known battery supply deal with a major global OEM. It was recently reported that BYD will also supply battery to Daimler. Management indicated that most major automakers are looking for battery supply from BYD, says Lee.

As at 1.06pm, shares in BYD are trading 30 HK cents higher, or 0.3% up, at HK$105.20