Tesla will only use iron-based batteries for standard model EVs

Tesla said Wednesday that it will use iron-based batteries for its standard Model 3 and Model Y in global markets. The update, released in the company's third quarter earnings report, confirmed evidence that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been declining the growing role of cheaper battery chemistry in the company's product line for months.
Lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries use older, cheaper battery chemistry and are popular in China. Outside of China, EV batteries are largely based on nickel - either nickel-manganese-cobalt or nickel-cobalt-aluminum. But beyond cost savings, LFP battery cells are attractive because they do not depend on extremely scarce raw materials such as cobalt and nickel. In particular, Tesla CFO Zach Kirkhorn confirmed during an investor call Wednesday that the company had an impact on nickel and aluminum pricing.
A major reason LFP batteries are not seen much outside of China relates to a number of key LFP patents that have enabled the country to dominate the LFP market.
But those patents are about to expire, and it seems Tesla has that timeframe in mind.
What Tesla's bet on iron-based batteries means for manufacturers
"Our goal is to localize all important parts of the vehicles on the continent - at least on the continent, if not closer to the production location of the vehicles," said Drew Baglino, SVP of Powertrain and Energy Engineering at Tesla, to investors. “That is our goal. We work internally with our suppliers to achieve this goal, not just at the final assembly level, but as far upstream as possible. "
The company has also provided a very brief and slightly fused update to its 4680 battery, a custom cell design it developed in-house. Tesla has said the 4680 battery will be capable of higher energy density and range. Baglino said the 4680 is on track for delivery in vehicles early next year, with all structural testing and validations going on as planned. But while the company is happy with the timeline, "this is a new architecture and unknown unknowns may still exist," added Baglino.
“From the cell point of view, we're happy with the design maturity and readiness to manufacture, which is in line with the packaging schedule just mentioned,” he added.

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