Tesla Targets Cobalt-Free Batteries in All Models

This article first appeared on the BNEF mobile app and the Bloomberg Terminal.

  • Tesla’s ultimate goal is to produce cobalt-free batteries
  • Cobalt-free LFP cells to be used for some models in China

Tesla’s recently published impact report for 2019 reiterated the company’s ultimate goal to eliminate cobalt completely from its battery cells.

Tesla currently uses the nickel rich nickel-cobalt-aluminum cathode chemistry, which has a low cobalt content of about 5%, for their cars produced outside China.

The company also enforces the use of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) reporting template to identify red flags such as child labor in their cobalt sourcing. Tesla has further eliminated the use of third party smelters to shorten its supply chain.

Electric Vehicle Outlook 2020 Read the executive summary report here

Inside China, Tesla will initially use CATL’s lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cells for its standard range Model 3 vehicles that will be produced in Shanghai. LFP batteries cost less and use no cobalt, but are also lower range.

Tesla and CATL are considering developing next-generation technologies together. Tesla’s ultimate goal is to have cobalt-free batteries across all models, but it remains unclear if this will be achieved by advancements in LFP or NCA cathode chemistry.

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