Tesla has officially secured approval to produce and sell a new Model 3 with cheaper lithium iron phosphate batteries in China.
Early on, Tesla adopted its own version of the energy-dense NCA battery cell for its electric vehicles, which went against most of the industry who uses NCM cells.
There have been reports stating that Tesla is switching to NCM battery cells for its Chinese Model 3 vehicles built at Gigafactory Shanghai.
The vehicles built in Shanghai are Tesla’s first without Panasonic-made battery cells in them.
Tesla contracted LG Chem and CATL to make the batteries for the vehicles being built at its new factory.
Earlier this year, we’ve learned that they might even use CATL’s lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, which is much less popular in the auto industry and mainly used in some Chinese electric vehicles due to its lower-energy density and lower cost.
Tesla has now secured approval from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to produce and sell the new version of the Model 3, which will be produced at Tesla Gigafactory Shanghai.
One advantage of LFP batteries is that they don’t use cobalt, which is an expensive and sometimes controversial mineral.
Tesla has talked about phasing out cobalt in its batteries in the past, and its NCA battery cells already use less cobalt than most other cells of similar chemistry.
The main disadvantage of LFP batteries is their lower-energy density, but CATL, which is believed to be Tesla’s supplier, has made improvements in LFP energy density and longevity.
In the filing for the new version of the Model 3 with LFP batteries, it shows that the vehicle is a little heavier than its US-made counterpart.
The base version of the Model 3 produced in the US weighs 3,627 lb (1,645 kg) while this new version with LFP batteries weighs 3,847 lb (1,745 kg).
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.
Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.