According to Chinese media reports, Tesla has signed a contract with LG Chem to supply battery cells for the Model Y made in China. Specifically, LG Chem will supply NMC cells for the Long Range and Performance versions of Tesla’s midsize SUV.
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The reports do not contain any further details on the alleged contract, i.e. volume and the start of delivery remain unknown. In contrast to the Model 3 and Model Y production in Fremont, where Tesla relies on round cells from Panasonic made at Gigafactory 1, Tesla seems to use cells from LG Chem in China for the Model Y. It is a similar approach to the Model 3 with AWD.
According to current plans, Tesla plans to build 250,000 Model Y in Gigafactory 3 near Shanghai next year, in addition to 300,000 Model 3. Although the Model Y is already registered with the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, it is not yet known whether Tesla has also received production approval. This is expected in the coming weeks.
There is also speculation that CATL may supply cobalt-free LFP cells for the Standard Range Plus version of Model Y, similar to Model 3. Again, the production of such a model has yet to be confirmed.
In the US, contrary to the original announcement, Tesla had cancelled the standard range version of the Model Y before the sales launch.
Update 17 December 2020: The Korea Times has confirmed that there is a contract between Tesla and LG Chem to supply battery cells for the Model Y produced in China, citing “industry circles.” The newspaper also gives details on the chemistry of the cells. According to the report, LG Chem will use NCMA (nickel, cobalt, manganese, aluminium) cells, which have a high nickel content of 90 per cent, in the batteries for Tesla. These should be able to increase the range by around 100 kilometres.
The cobalt content will be less than five per cent thanks to the use of aluminium and will help reduce battery costs, the report continues. The NCMA cells are to be supplied to Tesla by the now spun-off company LG Energy Solution from the second half of 2021.
Update 03 June 2021: Starting in July, LG Energy Solution wants to be the first to supply Tesla with its new NCMA battery cells, which have a nickel content of 90 per cent and a cobalt content that has been reduced to around five per cent. The new LG cells are to be used in the Tesla Model Y produced in China. At the end of 2020, there had already been reports about a corresponding supply contract between Tesla and LG.
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