BYD taps US chipmaking giant NVIDIA to power its next-gen EV fleet

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BYD taps US chipmaking giant NVIDIA to power its next-gen EV fleet


US chip-making giant NVIDIA is expanding ties with several Chinese automakers, including BYD, as the race for the best software and features heats up. BYD will use NVIDIA’s Drive Thor to power its next-gen EV fleet.

BYD, Chinese EV makers select NVIDIA Drive Thor

NVIDIA announced the partnership with BYD during its GTC conference on Tuesday. Building upon its existing collaborations, BYD is going from the car to the cloud.

BYD will use NVIDIA’s Drive Thor for its next-gen EV fleet. In addition, the automaker will use NVIDIA’s AI infrastructure for cloud-based AI development and training. BYD will utilize NVIDIA’s Isaac and Omniverse platforms to enhance factory efficiency and retail setups.

NVIDIA unveiled DRIVE Thor, its next-gen super chip, at GTC 2022. The high-performance chip can run multiple functions, such as automated and assisted driving, parking, driver and passenger monitoring, in-vehicle infotainment, and a digital instrument cluster.

With new AI capabilities, Drive Thor unlocks advanced driver-assist systems with graphics support.

After introducing the new tech, NVIDIA CEO and founder Jensen Huang called DRIVE Thor “the superhero of centralized computing, with lightning-fast performance.” It delivers an “upgradeable, safe and secure software-defined supercomputer on wheels.”

BYD-NVIDIA
BYD Atto 3 production (Source: BYD)

According to local reports, BYD is advancing in-house ADAS tech, with new features expected to roll out by the end of the month. The EV leader is investing $14 billion (RMB 100 billion) to become a leader in intelligent driving.

BYD was not the only Chinese automaker to expand ties with NVIDIA. Hyper, a luxury brand owned by GAC AION, will use DRIVE Thor for its next-gen EVs starting in 2025.

XPENG also announced it will use the super chip as the “AI brain” for its upcoming EV fleets. NVIDIA’s tech will power the EV maker’s XNGP AI driving system to unlock autonomous driving, parking, and passenger monitoring, among other features.

BYD-cheaper-seagull-EV
BYD new Seagull EV (Source: BYD)

BYD, HYPER, and XPENG join China’s ZEEKR and Li Auto, which already announced plans to use the tech for future EVs.

Electrek’s Take

The news comes after BYD declared a “liberation battle” against gas-powered vehicles by releasing more affordable electric models priced below (or around) their ICE counterparts.

BYD’s cheapest EV so far, the new Seagull, starts at just $9,700. After topping Tesla as the world’s largest EV maker late last year, BYD plans to continue taking market share from gas-powered cars with an expanded lineup.

Although BYD is best known for its low-cost EVs, the Chinese automaker is expanding into luxury and mid-size SUVs to take on new segments.

BYD’s success is being watched closely by American automakers. Although BYD isn’t planning to launch passenger EVs in the US, it’s “just getting started” in other overseas markets like Europe.

Ford’s CEO Jim Farley called BYD’s Seagull a “pretty damn good” EV while warning other automakers. In response, Ford is shifting its strategy from larger EVs (like the F-150 Lightning) to smaller, more affordable electric cars.

Ford is developing a low-cost EV platform to power a smaller electric pickup and SUV, with starting prices around $25,000.

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