CATL, the world’s largest maker of electric vehicle batteries, recently unveiled new chemistry that promises to revolutionize the industry. The Chinese firm’s M3P cells are presented as an intermediate point between the affordable LFP (lithium iron phosphate) and the advanced NCM (nickel, cobalt, manganese).
M3P batteries are based on LMFP (Lithium Manganese Ferrophosphate) chemistry, which greatly improves the energy density of the aforementioned LFP chemistry. The material used in them will be supplied by Shenzhen Dynanonic Co, which in the second half of 2022 will produce 110,000 tons of raw materials for CATL’s M3P cells.
Adding manganese to the LFP formula increases cell voltage (in the case of CATL batteries, it goes from 3.2 to 4.1 volts), thereby improving energy density by approximately 20%. This allows LMFP cells to approach the energy density of NCM while retaining the cost advantage of LFP.
And is that, unlike nickel and cobalt, manganese is a relatively cheap and abundant material, so the cost of LMFP batteries will not skyrocket about LFP. The main problem of this chemistry, its limited life cycle, has been solved by the use of doping materials in the cathode.
The Tesla Model Y will debut the new CATL M3P batteries
According to the local media LatePost, CATL will start supplying M3P batteries to Tesla in the fourth quarter of this year. The American brand will use these cells in a 72 kWh capacity pack that will initially be installed in the Model Y SUV. The new version will be launched on the market in early 2023.
Tesla is currently developing its LMFP batteries, although its work is not as advanced as CATL’s. For this reason, the manufacturer led by Elon Musk will turn once again to the Chinese supplier, which already supplies Giga Shanghai with the LFP cells used in Model 3 and Model Y access.
Once the initial tests with the sample cells provided by CATL are completed, it will take approximately three months for Tesla to close the agreement and start manufacturing electric cars equipped with the new batteries. Although it is not yet official, Tesla will probably recover the name Mid Range to baptize the new version of the Model Y, since its autonomy will be halfway between the Standard Range and Long Range.