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Tesla to use CATL's breakthrough M3P battery as Elon Musk thought manganese has potential

Model 3 and Model Y are candidates for M3P batteries (image: Tesla)
Model 3 and Model Y are candidates for M3P batteries (image: Tesla)
While Tesla doesn't need more Chinese batteries that will prevent it from getting federal subsidies, it is still being tempted by the M3P invention that offers 20% higher energy density.

Tesla is still examining and certifying that Holy Grail of cheap EV batteries - CATL's M3P invention - for use in its electric cars. When opening Giga Berlin, Elon Musk quipped that he sees big potential in manganese as cheap and plentiful battery material suitable for scaling production at the TWh level.

Tesla has long been rumored to be one of the customers for CATL's manganese phosphate batteries that are as cheap and easy to produce as the LFP cells in the Model 3, yet offer 15-20% higher energy density in the same footprint. However, "CATL is still developing and verifying the battery with Tesla, and the launch time is still unclear," tip the insiders. According to CATL, only cars by Huawei/Cherry are currently shipping with M3P batteries, but the company is "also advancing project cooperation with other customers" like Tesla.

When announcing its invention, CATL said that the manganese phosphate cells are planned to go into midrange EVs that will be able to cover 700km (435 miles) on a charge. That's on the generous Chinese CLTC cycle, though, which usually overshoots the EPA estimate by a third, so electric cars with M3P batteries will probably offer about 300 miles of official range in the US.

The big advantage, however, is that the higher energy density allows for a smaller battery footprint, hence cost and weight of the vehicle if all other things are being equal. Tesla was rumored to install CATL's M3P cells first on the Model Y coming from Giga Berlin, and then on the Model 3 Highland.

Apparently, none of these have gotten manganese batteries yet, as Tesla and CATL are still in the verification stage. It remains to be seen where will Tesla install the manganese cells first, but since it already lost the Model 3 Highland's federal tax credit eligibility because of its Chinese batteries, it might as well go with the better ones in the future.

Tesla is reportedly also probing the White House for expanding its US-based battery production with CATL equipment for phosphate cells without any direct involvement by the Chinese, and wants to know if it will be able to qualify for tax credits with such an approach.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2024 02 > Tesla to use CATL's breakthrough M3P battery as Elon Musk thought manganese has potential
Daniel Zlatev, 2024-02-29 (Update: 2024-02-29)