Tesla has apparently ordered LFP battery cells with a total capacity of 45 GWh from CATL for the production of the Model 3 and Model Y next year. Negotiations are also said to be underway for additional orders.
This was reported by the Chinese portal 36Kr, which cites several insiders. There is no confirmation of this from CATL or Tesla. A deal of this magnitude does not seem improbable: Tesla announced in its Q3 figures that it would use LFP cells for its “standard range” models worldwide in the future. So far, this is only the case for the variants built in China; the “standard range” Model 3 models built in the USA had round cells from Gigafactory 1.
The Chinese-built Model 3 SR+ with LFP cells has a 55 kWh battery, while the Model Y SR, which has so far only been sold in China, has an energy content of 60 kWh – but there have already been rumours that the Model 3 could soon also get the 60 kWh battery. Regardless, an agreed delivery volume for the coming year of 45 GWh would correspond to around 800,000 vehicles.
Incidentally, the production capacity of Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai is given as 450,000+ vehicles in the Q3 annual report. It is quite possible that Tesla will increase this capacity. Nevertheless, with LFP cells for 800,000 vehicles, it seems that some portion is earmarked for export to Tesla’s US vehicle plants.
As 36Kr further writes, Tesla is already negotiating additional orders with CATL – whether this also involves LFP cells or other cell chemistries is not mentioned. However, Tesla seems to be preparing for a significantly higher demand for vehicles: Another source added that Tesla and Panasonic will expand battery production in Nevada to over 40 GWh. However, there is no confirmation or second source for this.
In recent months there had been numerous rumours that Tesla was looking for a second LFP supplier besides CATL. Initially, it was said that the upcoming compact model could be equipped with BYD’s Blade batteries. Then, last week, Chinese media wrote that Tesla had ordered 10 GWh of blade batteries from BYD – but for the Model 3 and Model Y.
Meanwhile, CATL has started construction of the new battery factory in Yichun in the Chinese province of Jiangxi, which was announced in September. When completed, it is expected to offer an annual production capacity of 50 GWh. The plant is scheduled to go into operation at the end of 2022.
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