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Tesla is Switching to LFP Batteries for its Energy Storage Solutions

Tesla is Switching to LFP Batteries for its Energy Storage Solutions

Photo: Tesla | Tesmanian

Tesla is switching to cobalt-free lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries in its stationary energy storage products. Tesla CEO Elon Musk explained that this is a logical step, as it will significantly reduce the cost of producing energy storage without lowering the quality of the product.

Tesla is now working with Panasonic to manufacture Nickel Cobalt Aluminum (NCA) batteries at the Gigafactory in Nevada and buy Nickel, Manganese, and Cobalt (NMC) batteries from LG Chem in China. This is a good solution when it comes to EV batteries. However, for energy storage systems, this solution is not the best, since using these materials, the cost of the product rises without bringing corresponding benefits.

The bulk and cost per cell fall on the cathode, Tesla CEO Elon Musk explained during Q1 2021 Earnings Call. For high-energy cells, such as those that the company uses in most of the cars it produces, nickel-based lithium-ion cells are utilized. They have a higher energy density and yield longer range than iron-based cells. However, for stationary storage, the energy density is not that important because it just stays on the ground. That is why the vast majority of stationary storage facilities produced by the company will technically be iron-based lithium-ion cells with an iron phosphate cathode. In fact, the phosphate part is not needed and it's just iron or nickel, Musk explained.

"However, stationary storage, the energy density is not as important because it’s just staying on the ground and so I think the vast majority of stationary storage will be iron-based lithium-ion cells with an iron phosphate cathode, technically. But the phosphate part is unnecessary. It’s really just the iron or nickel."

The elimination of the controversial cobalt makes production not only more affordable from a financial point of view but also more acceptable from a moral point of view. Another factor is that the availability of such materials is relatively low, while iron is a very common material. Thus, the production of energy storage with cobalt-free lithium iron phosphate batteries will solve several serious problems and lead to a quality, cheaper and uncontested product.

© 2021, Eva Fox. All rights reserved.

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Article edited by @SmokeyShorts, you can follow him on Twitter


About the Author

Eva Fox

Eva Fox

Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.

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