Tesla is in advanced talks with the Ningde Times New Energy Technology Co.(300750) over the use of cobalt-free batteries in electric vehicles at its Shanghai superplant, Reuters reported. If reached, the lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery will be included in the Tesla production line for the first time, which is expected to reduce the production cost of the related models.
In the field of power battery, lithium iron phosphate battery and ternary battery are two major technical routes. Current electric car manufacturers typically use ternary batteries such as nickel cobalt aluminum (NCA) batteries and nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) batteries in passenger cars. The battery has a higher energy density and better ability to continue, but cobalt is also one of the most expensive metals in power batteries.
It is reported that the Ningde era adopts the technical route of three-way battery as the main part and lithium iron phosphate as the core. In order to improve the density and safety of lithium iron phosphate battery, Ningde era has been studying battery packaging technology to increase the volume utilization efficiency of battery pack and reduce the assembly cost.
Sources told Reuters that the cost of lithium iron phosphate battery production is expected to "fall by more than double-digit percentage" compared with the ternary battery. Another source said it was unclear to what extent Tesla intended to use lithium iron phosphate batteries, but it did not plan to stop using the current nickel cobalt aluminum batteries.
It's worth noting that the adoption of lithium iron phosphate batteries will also help Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk deliver on his 2018 promise to cut the use of cobalt in Tesla to "almost zero." Musk told a January earnings conference that Tesla would share future battery strategy and technology in April's "Battery Day," including details of cooperation with the Ningde era, LG Chemical on batteries and so on.
In response to the above issues, Ningde Times said that the company "has the ability to provide appropriate and competitive solutions according to customer needs, bringing value to customers".
Tesla's agreement with the Ningde era is true, and the Ningde era's lithium iron phosphate battery itself contains no cobalt, but there is no comment on whether the cooperation will eventually land, Tesla officials said. In addition, Tesla is expected to announce specific information such as the components of its own research and development of new batteries at its April meeting.
On February 3, Ningde Times announced that it plans to sign agreements with Tesla and Tesla (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. to supply lithium-ion power battery products to Tesla. The validity period of supply is from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2022.
Ningde era was founded in 2011, the business covers new energy automotive power battery system, energy storage system research and development, production and sales, with power and energy storage battery field including materials, core technology, battery systems, battery recycling secondary utilization. China's power battery industry innovation alliance data show that in 2019, China's power battery loading accumulated 62.2 GWh, of which Ningde era loading 31.46 GWh, ranked first, with a market share of 50.57%.
At the end of February 18, Ningde times closed at 156.62 yuan / share, up 1.64%.