Image credit: BYD

Chinese electric vehicle giant BYD has opened its first lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery plant for electric vehicles in the Amazonas city of Manaus in northwest Brazil.

The plant, the company’s third in the Manaus Industrial Pole, will supply batteries initially for locally manufactured 100% electric buses.

The 5,000 m2 plant has a production capacity of up to 1,000 batteries per year. The initial output is projected at 272 LiFePO4 batteries by November.

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“We are producing an output of 28 batteries every two days,” says Tyler Li, president of BYD Brazil. “The operation is very fast and technical as we have infrastructure assembled and robotized to deliver batteries more quickly and safely.”

LiFePO4 batteries are well suited to power electric vehicles. They provide the high discharge rates needed for acceleration and have lower weight and longer life than alternatives.

The initial output from the factory is destined for the supply by BYD of 12 100% electric articulated buses to the city of São José dos Campos in the interior of São Paulo by October 2021. The 22 metre long buses will cover a route of only 14.5 km connecting the south and east regions of the city. When fully charged their range is about 250 km.

Four electric motors power the buses. The battery recharge time is 3 hours.

BYD has been a pioneer in the introduction of electric buses to Brazil, opening its manufacturing facility in Campinas in 2015. Several contracts are underway in what is anticipated to be a fast-growing market.

The company estimates that the electricity running costs are about 25% of those of a diesel vehicle. In addition, with a reduction in the number of parts, the maintenance costs also should be reduced.

The scale of the new Manaus factory allows for the expansion of new production lines in the future, potentially in partnership with other companies, according to a company statement.

“Our proposal is to facilitate the electrification of mobility and equipment in the country,” Li adds.