Chinese authorities have granted Tesla their approval to begin mass production of Model 3 with a new type of battery, lithium ion phosphate (LFP), Reuters reports, citing a statement by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Lithium iron phosphate, or LFP, batteries contain no cobalt—one of the more expensive components of EV batteries and the object of ethical mining controversies since most of the world’s supply of cobalt is concentrated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where child labor is rife.
The new batteries for the Model 3 may be produced by CATL, a Chinese battery and technology company, and the biggest EV battery maker globally. CATL sealed a deal with Tesla to supply it with batteries in February, for a two-year period beginning in July this year.
Soon after, CATL, which also supplies EV batteries to Audi, Hyundai-Kia, Volvo, and Mercedes, said it would boost its production capacity fourfold, for an investment of $3.7 billion. At the time Reuters reported the batteries CATL will supply to Tesla would be lithium iron phosphate ones.
There were no details in the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s statement regarding the Tesla deal about the supplier of the batteries.
Tesla’s stock price yesterday surged to over $1,000 after CEO Elon Musk told the company to “go all out” on the semi truck. The share price could rise further, after CATL said it has made a new battery that has a total range of 1.2 million miles over the course of 16 years in productive life. Earlier reports had it that Tesla worked with the Chinese battery maker to develop the new product.
Tesla is soon to hold what Musk called Battery Day, already postponed twice amid the pandemic, at which he is expected to announce more news about the million-mile battery.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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