Elon Musk said that due to certain concerns about the long-term availability of nickel supplies, Tesla may transfer more electric vehicles to LFP batteries.
Last year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk mentioned that he believes that the energy density of iron phosphate (LFP) batteries has been improved enough that it is now cheaper and cheaper to use in low-end vehicles. Batteries that do not contain cobalt make sense.
In addition, the CEO said that the use of LFP batteries can also release more nickel ions for the battery supply of lithium-ion chemical batteries for use in Tesla’s other vehicle plans.
In October 2020, Tesla started to produce Model 3 Standard Range Plus with LFP batteries at the Shanghai Super Factory in Shanghai.
This move is significant because Tesla also started exporting this new version of Model 3 outside China for the first time.
This new Chinese-made Model 3 Standard Range Plus with LFP batteries will eventually become Tesla̵
In the United States, Tesla is still producing the Model 3 Standard Range, which has a lithium-ion battery cell with a nickel cathode, but now Elon Musk seems to also say that it may be transferred here.
When discussing the availability of battery resources on Twitter last night, Musk said that Tesla is “shifting standard range cars to iron cathodes”:
Nickel is our biggest concern in expanding the production of lithium-ion batteries. This is why we transferred the standard range of cars to iron cathodes. Lots of iron (and lithium)!
The comment seems to imply that this transition is underway, so its scope may be expanded to not just cars made in China.
Recently, the CEO has been expressing concerns about the availability and price of nickel.
On Tesla’s July 2020 earnings call, Musk pleaded with mining companies to increase nickel production:
Okay, I want to emphasize again, any mining company out there please mine more nickel. Ok. No matter where you are in the world, please mine more nickel and don’t wait until nickel recovers for a long time-no matter how much experience you have, it is the highest point five years ago. Pursuing efficiency, large-scale mining is obviously environmentally friendly nickel. If you mine nickel efficiently in an environmentally friendly way, Tesla will provide you with a huge contract for a long time. Therefore, I hope that this news can be communicated to all mining companies. Please get nickel.
Nickel prices have been rising recently and have risen by 16% this year, partly due to the demand for electric vehicle batteries.
A battery with a nickel cathode has a higher energy and power density than a battery with iron phosphate, so this is why Tesla only uses the latter in short-range electric vehicles.
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