BYD to Build Battery Component Plant in Chile

China’s biggest BEV manufacturer, BYD is set to build a lithium cathode battery component factory in Chile as a harbinger of its global expansion strategy.

Reuters reports that the automaker plans to build the $290M facility in the northern Antofagasta region, according to Chilean economic development agency CORFO. The country’s government has named BYD as a qualified lithium producer giving it access to preferential prices for lithium carbonate quotas.

Currently, BYD supplies electric buses for Chile’s public transportation system. Its new plant will have the capacity to produce 50,000 tons annually of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) for cathodes, using lithium carbonate as an input. It is scheduled to start operating in 2025 and generate 500 jobs, CORFO said in a statement.

President Gabriel Boric has pledged to nationalize the lithium industry in Chile, the world’s second-largest producer of the metal essential in EV batteries, to boost its economy and protect its environment. CORFO executive vice-president Jose Miguel Benavente, said: “We hope to give a strong boost to promote the generation of products in the lithium value chain.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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