American automaker Tesla is on the verge of starting sales of China-made Model 3 electric vehicles with cobalt-free lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, Reuters reported, citing informed sources. According to them, the start of sales may be announced as early as Thursday.
Currently, the Model 3 electric sedans produced at the company’s Shanghai plant use nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) batteries. The starting price for the Model 3 in China is currently 271,550 yuan ($ 39,900) after government subsidies.
LFP batteries are cheaper to manufacture and do not contain cobalt, one of the most expensive metals used in electric vehicle batteries. LFP batteries will be used in all Model 3 vehicles made in China with standard range, sources said. Back in February of this year, it was reported about Tesla’s negotiations with Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. (CATL) regarding the supply of LFP batteries for its Chinese electric vehicles.
Tesla sold more than 11,000 electric vehicles in China in August this year, mostly Model 3 models. The move to cheaper batteries will help the company reduce production costs and remain competitive in the world’s largest auto market.
Tesla is also building new production facilities for the Model Y electric crossover at its Shanghai plant, with plans to start selling it next year.
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