Tesla is pushing the negotiations with CATL to adopt their cobalt-free batteries for use in al the cars built in the Shanghai, China, Gigafactory. This would make Tesla the first US car manufacturer to use lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries in their cars. This way, the company can lower production costs to neutralise lower EV sales in China.
With the two companies in talks for over a year now, they’ve reportedly now struck a deal within the last month. These batteries are now said to be cheaper than the current batteries in Teslas by “double-digit” percent”, according to an insider, although Tesla and CATL haven’t commented on this.
Nickel-cobalt-aluminum (NCA) or nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) batteries are often used in EVs due to their high energy density, but CATL has been working on something called cell-to-pack technology, which aims to boost density and safety of LFP batteries. These new batteries also mean Elon Musk’s promise from 2018 of lowering Tesla’s use of cobalt to “almost nothing” will be kept, or is at least being worked on.
Tesla has recently started delivering cars from its China plant, and is currently working on getting approval to start building the Long Range Model 3. Elon is also gearing up to share the company’s future in battery tech in April.