Tesla Model Y energy density-beating LFP battery with 600+ mile range unveiled by VW supplier
When one of the world's top 10 battery makers Gotion announced plans for a giant Michigan factory that will make LFP cells of the type used in the base Tesla Model Y or Model 3, their specifications were not exactly clear. Gotion just said at the time that the plant would eventually offer 200 GWh capacity in a 5-year period and that it is partnering with a "large listed automobile company in the US" on "battery production bases" there.
Now, however, Gotion announced that its research and development of LFP cells with added manganese - the so-called LMFP technology - has resulted in cells with energy density of 240 Wh/kg that will be in mass production next year. The L600 LMFP cells would be placed in what Gotion calls the Astroinno battery pack with 190 Wh/kg overall density. This is about what the average ternary EV battery pack with expensive nickel and cobalt now offer and Gotion claims the new LMFP cells can power electric vehicles with 1000km (626 miles) range.
While this has probably been tested on the overly generous CLTC standard whose corresponding ETA estimate could be up to a third shorter, that is still very impressive for a pack with the cheaper and ubiquitous phosphate tech. It could, for instance, allow for a 400+ mile range from a base Tesla Model 3 battery, and perhaps the same range for the upcoming 53 kWh Model 2, seeing as it could be about 30% lighter.
It is not yet clear if the US$2.36 billion Michigan factory will be producing Gotion's new LMFP cells, or whether they will be for Tesla vehicles given that VW has a big stake in Gotion, though. The 2024 timeframe would coincide with the purported Model 2 launch next summer and Tesla will need a boatload of affordable LFP batteries for it.
The important take, however, is that this seems to be the first time a phosphate battery with energy density close to expensive nickel-based cells has been announced. The world's largest EV battery supplier CATL also has phosphate cells with manganese that it calls the M3P battery which has been rumored for the Model Y, yet they offer lower - 210 Wh/kg - density than what Gotion announced.