Tesla is switching to cheaper battery chemistry


Tesla will start using cheaper lithium-iron phosphate batteries (LFBs) around the world and will give up the chemistry used by most electric cars at a time when the prices of key materials are rising significantly.

LFB batteries will be used in Tesla’s standard models in the future, the company said in a report on its business in the third quarter. This confirmed the strategy announced last year on the use of budget components to offer models at more favorable prices.

Much of the automotive industry relies on nickel and cobalt in lithium ion batteries to improve electrical performance. Delivery of both of these materials is difficult, and there are ethical issues related to cobalt mining in mines in DR Congo. Nickel, which contributes to greater strength and range, can also catch fire, and the industry spends billions of dollars to ensure its safe application.

Higher nickel prices are currently affecting battery cells, Tesla Finance Chief Zack Kirkorn said.

So far, Tesla has used LFB batteries in China, made by CATL, the world’s largest battery manufacturer. These batteries are cheaper and more stable than the alternatives, but in the past they did not have a high energy density, which is a key factor for electric vehicles.

That feature is changing rapidly, and CATL has been able to develop methods to improve the performance of these batteries in collaboration with startup companies like Our Next Energy of Ohio, which has the support of Bill Gates. Thanks to this, these batteries are becoming more suitable for most electric models in all markets.

Source: Nacionalna Klasa by www.nacionalnaklasa.com.

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