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Tesla Battery Day May Introduce Next-Gen Cobalt Free Non-LFP Cell Hints China

by Claribelle Deveza February 21, 2020

Tesla-Battery-Day-Cobalt-Free-nonLFP

The Tesla Battery Day may introduce the EV automaker's next-gen cobalt-free non-LFP cell, according to one of the company’s official social media accounts in China. The ramifications of Tesla China’s response to a single question may reveal how close the all-electric car maker is to revolutionizing battery cells for all EVs.

Recently, on one of Tesla’s official social media accounts in China, the company’s use of CATL’s cobalt-free battery cells was brought up. One person asked if Tesla China would be using CATL's zero cobalt LFP cells in Giga Shanghai, like the ones used by BYD.

Tesla’s official account replied politely to the inquiry, thanking the person for the question, before dropping a surprising answer. "Thanks for the question. All we can say right now, please stay tuned for the Battery Day in April, cobalt free, not only for LFP,” Tesla China's social media handle wrote.

Tesla-Battery-Day-Cobalt-Free-nonLFP-2

According to the response, Tesla China would not necessarily be using similar cobalt-free battery cells as BYD and advised everyone to wait until Tesla Battery Day to learn more.

The Tesla account said it couldn’t provide more details, but did go on to say that zero-cobalt batteries don’t necessarily mean LFP cells. The response implied that Tesla's cobalt-free batteries were not equal to CATL's LFP cells.

Tesla’s interest in CATL’s cobalt-free batteries has been one of the biggest news related to Giga Shanghai lately. Benchmark Minerals, an agency that specializes in the prices of lithium ion batteries, EVs, and energy storage chains already discussed the potential savings Tesla could reap from using lithium ion phosphate batteries for the MIC Model 3 Standard Range Plus. 

When Reuters broke the news about a no-cobalt battery from CATL, everyone assumed that the source of the trusted media outlet meant the China-based supplier’s LFP batteries. According to Green Tech Media, CATL makes both NMC and LFP batteries, and of the two, the latter uses zero cobalt. So, of course, people assumed that Tesla would be using CATL’s LFP batteries when news broke of the company’s interest in the China-based supplier’s “cobalt-free” cells.

Many have speculated and made theories about Tesla’s strategy for its China-made Model 3 SR+ based on the assumption that the EV automaker was planning to use CATL’s prismatic LFP cells. However, these speculations might have been wrong, if Tesla China's recent social media response is accurate.

Everyone assumed LFP batteries cells would be used for a reason since lithium Iron Phosphate cells seem to be the main one used for EVs that are cobalt-free. However, Tesla China appears to be saying otherwise. If the EV tech company has a cobalt-free battery cell that isn’t LFP, then one of the main conclusions that could be drawn is that the Tesla has already made its next-gen battery that uses zero cobalt--and it will be introduced on Battery Day.

Featured Image Credit: Tesmanian




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