Tesla and Chinese EV makers value these low-cost EV batteries a lot

Electric vehicles often differ based on different battery technologies. American automaker Tesla has been setting the trend for years. According to Yang Jie at the wall street journal, “Cheaper battery technology championed by Tesla Inc. Elon Musk dominated the world’s biggest car market last year. »

A look at a Tesla Model 3 in Qinghai. Image courtesy of Tesla/Tesla Greater China.

The batteries are lithium-iron-phosphate batteries, often referred to as LFP batteries. WSJ‘s Jie reports, “One of the strongest advocates is Tesla’s Mr. Musk, who said finding enough nickel at a reasonable cost is a major production concern.

“Our intention with this pack is for the product experience to be roughly equivalent between nickel and iron,” Musk said. wrote on Twitter last August to a customer who was offered the delivery of a Tesla earlier if he chose the LFP option. “I would personally go slightly for the iron pack as it wants to be charged at 100% while nickel prefers ~90%,” Musk said in the Twitter post.

“Tesla first used LFP batteries for its China-made Model 3 in 2020. Last October, the company announced that it would expand the use of iron-based batteries to all of its standard-range cars. China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., the world’s largest maker of electric vehicle batteries, is supplying Tesla with LFP batteries,” notes WSJ.

Meanwhile, “other Chinese EV brands are also becoming heavy LFP users.” In fact, Chinese EV brands have wholeheartedly embraced LFP, “not only because of the cost, but also because the batteries are less likely to catch fire,” resulting in a better safety profile, according to WSJ. In turn, the adoption of the LFP in China has been rapid.

The numbers tell the story. “Batteries using lithium iron phosphate or LFP technology accounted for 57% of China’s total vehicle battery production in 2021, up from less than half the previous year. LFP batteries have taken the lead in China because they use relatively cheap iron in the battery cathode instead of more expensive metals such as nickel,” Jie reports.

Although Tesla’s switch to LFP batteries has spread to Chinese EV brands, mainstream automakers (in Europe in America) have lagged behind. It has been reported that “they generally haven’t gone as far as Tesla and the Chinese manufacturers to bring the technology into mass production.”

Originally published on EVANNEX.

Editor’s Note: CleanTechnica’s Max Holland predicted and explained why LFP batteries would play an important role in Tesla’s future ahead of Battery Day in September 2020.

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