The world’s largest battery manufacturer CATL is to begin production of its M3P batteries, which are 15 per cent more energy dense than LFP (Lithium iron phosphate) batteries, and will perform better and cost less than nickel and cobalt-based batteries.
CATL announced that it was working on the new battery in August last year and news of its success was revealed by chairman Zeng Yuqun at an investor briefing last Friday.
The increased energy density now at (210 kWh/kg) will enable EVs like the Tesla Model 3 to get a range of around 700km with a similar sized battery pack to the existing LFP batteries CATL currently supplies Tesla.
CATL currently dominates the LFP battery market so with the higher energy density, lower costs and better performance of the new M3P batteries, CATLs customers will no doubt be looking to make the switch as soon as possible.
CATL accounts for more than a third of total battery sales globally and currently supplies Volkswagen, BMW and Ford as well as its main customer Tesla with EV batteries. Tesla is such a big customer for CATL that the battery company set up its new 70 GWh factory just 5km from Tesla’s Shanghai factory.
While the precise chemistry of the new batteries isn’t known, the new M3P battery is an improved version of the LFP chemistry where the iron (F) is replaced with a mix of magnesium, zinc, and aluminium. So the MP3 is still a lithium phosphate battery.
The magnesium, zinc, and aluminium mix substitution for iron is what increases the battery’s energy density while keeping costs low.
It’s believed that Tesla’s Model 2 and Model Y produced at the Shanghai factory may be built with the new batteries within the next few months.
According to Autoevolution with the new M3P batteries, a Tesla Model 3 should be able to travel more than 700 km (435 miles) on one charge, in line with CATL promises.
Daniel Bleakley is a clean technology researcher and advocate with a background in engineering and business. He has a strong interest in electric vehicles, renewable energy, manufacturing and public policy.