Tesla has announced its intention to use more affordable iron-based batteries for its electric vehicles and Semi heavy-duty electric trucks. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, has expressed his support for lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery technology, which is primarily produced by Chinese manufacturers. Musk has emphasized that the use of iron-based cells will play a significant role in the electrification of heavy-duty work.
As a consequence of the ongoing political strains between the United States and China, Chinese manufacturers are facing difficulties in establishing battery factories in the US. Consequently, Tesla is looking into other options to obtain the necessary batteries while still striving to achieve its objective of utilizing cost-effective and eco-friendly technologies.
On Wednesday, Tesla revealed its “Master Plan Part 3,” which included plans to use lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries in its “Semi Light” heavy electric trucks intended for short-range transportation. The automaker did not provide a specific release date for these trucks.
At present, Tesla provides its Semi electric trucks, equipped with nickel-based batteries that can cover a range of 500 miles per charge. Additionally, the company has revealed its intention to introduce a new version of the truck, which will have a range of 300 miles per charge.
Furthermore, Tesla plans to incorporate LFP batteries for its upcoming compact electric cars, which will have a battery capacity of 53 kilowatt-hours (kWh), in contrast to the 75 kWh capacity found in the Model Y and Model 3. However, the automaker has not yet disclosed the schedule for the release of these vehicles.
In addition to its nickel-based batteries for the Model 3 and Model Y cars sold in the US market, Tesla has announced intentions to incorporate LFP batteries into these mid-sized vehicles. The automaker has not yet disclosed a timeline for the implementation of these changes.
Elon Musk and other proponents of LFP batteries have lauded the plentiful and economical availability of iron as a significant advantage over nickel-based batteries, despite the fact that LFP cells are bigger, bulkier, and generally have a lower energy density, which results in a shorter range. Additionally, LFP cells pose a lower risk of catching fire than nickel-based cells.
Tesla currently sources LFP batteries from a Chinese company called Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., which doesn’t have any manufacturing facilities in the United States. Nevertheless, Tesla’s supplier in South Korea, LG Energy Solution, intends to establish a factory in Arizona where it will manufacture LFP batteries.