No Cobalt. Tesla Attacking “Rare Earths” Problem

April 21, 2022

Batteries with no nickel or cobalt.

Cleantechnica:

Tesla released its financial data for the first quarter of 2022 after the close of the trading day on Wednesday. Johnna Crider has a report about the financials, which are spectacular, but there is something else in the report that is pretty interesting as well. The company says about half of all the cars produced in Q1 left the factory with LFP batteries installed.

“Diversification of battery chemistries is critical for long-term capacity growth, to better optimize our products for their various use cases and expand our supplier base. This is why nearly half of Tesla vehicles produced in Q1 were equipped with a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery, containing no nickel or cobalt. Currently, LFP batteries are used in most of our standard range vehicle products, as well as commercial energy storage applications. As a result of our energy efficient motors, a Model 3 with an LFP battery pack can still achieve a 267-mile EPA range,” the company said in that report.

Teslarati notes that Tesla made it clear prior to the announcement there would be battery material shortages and it would have to combat those issues by developing different cell chemistries. In August 2021, Tesla started offering LFP battery packs to customers in North America who had ordered Standard Range Model 3 trim configurations. Tesla had been using LFP battery cells in Asia and Europe for some time, while North American builds of the Model 3 SR+ utilized nickel-cobalt-aluminum battery chemistry.

Tesla reached out to people in North America who had ordered a Model 3 SR+ to offer them the choice of having an LFP battery pack. “We are contacting you about your Model 3 Standard Range Plus, currently estimated for delivery near the end of the year. We’d like to offer you the opportunity to receive your car even sooner. Due to limited supply and strong customer demand, we are introducing the Model 3 Standard Range Plus battery pack, which we already released in Europe and Asia, to North America. This battery has a range of 253 miles (est).”

2 Responses to “No Cobalt. Tesla Attacking “Rare Earths” Problem”

  1. John Oneill Says:

    Cobalt and nickel are not rare earths, they are transition metals. The ‘rare earths’ are the elements from 58, Cerium, to 71, Lutetium, but in particular, just four elements – Praesodymium, Neodymium, Terbium, and Dysprosium – are used in high-strength and high-temperature magnets. They are not particularly ‘rare’, but China controls 100% of the difficult final separation and metal refining process for these four. You can make electric car motors without them, but using them gives a 10% boost in efficiency, according to Tesla, and so, longer range. About eighty percent of carmakers’ motors used RE permanent magnets in 2020, and that proportion is predicted to increase over the next decade.
    https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/china-frictions-steer-electric-automakers-away-rare-earth-magnets-2021-07-19.

  2. J4Zonian Says:

    BYD & now Tesla! This is a great direction for EVs, with the 2 trend-setters moving toward consciousness that’s been beyond the nuclear industry for 75 years, and the fossil industry for twice that. Those industries are likely to react in their own way, with the consciousness of un. I’m reminded of Hawkeye Pierce: Sincerity? Sure, I can fake that!


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