Tesla Wins Approval to Use Cobalt-Free Batteries in its China-made Model 3
【Summary】Tesla has received government approval to build Model 3 vehicles in China equipped with lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, a document on the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology website showed.
As global automakers ramp up their plans to build a larger number of fully-electric vehicles, most, including segment leader Tesla, are also looking for ways to reduce the amount of cobalt used in the manufacturing of the electric vehicle battery packs.
Reuters reports that electric automaker Tesla has received government approval to build Model 3 vehicles in China equipped with lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, a document on the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology website showed.
Cobalt is a natural material found in only a few places on Earth, and demand for it is rising, which is driving up the price, which results in EVs costing significantly more than combustion engine models.
As reported earlier this year, Tesla has been in talks with Chinese battery maker CATL for the past year to use lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) batteries that contain no cobalt for Model 3 vehicles built at the automaker's new Shanghai gigafactory.
It would be the first time Tesla built a vehicle using LFP batteries instead of the typical lithium-ion type.
The document filed with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology does not provide the name of the battery maker.
Reuters exclusively reported in February that Tesla was in advanced talks to use LFP batteries from CATL that contain no cobalt - one of the most expensive metals in electric vehicle (EV) batteries - in cars made at its plant in China.
Most automakers are currently using the more common nickel-cobalt-aluminum (NCA) or nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) batteries for electric vehicles, which are favored for their higher energy density, which can increase the range of electric vehicles.
Tesla currently produces these batteries at its Nevada gigafactory in a joint venture with Panasonic. The NCA batteries are used for Tesla's electric vehicles, while the NMC batteries are used in Tesla's Powerwall energy storage devices.
Tesla has claimed that the battery cells used in Tesla's Model 3 are of the highest energy density used in any electric car vehicle, but these batteries contain cobalt. AS battery technology advances, the California automaker has been actively seeking to reduce the amount of cobalt for at least the past several years.
Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk wrote in a letter to shareholders in May 2018 that the company would eventually reduce the use of cobalt to "almost nothing."
"We have achieved this by significantly reducing cobalt content per battery pack while increasing nickel content and still maintaining superior thermal stability," Tesla said in its letter to shareholders at the time.
In addition to electric vehicle battery packs, Cobalt is used in the smaller, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power millions of smartphones and laptops.
resource from: Reuters
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