Tesla's potentially cheaper battery technology for China surfaces

We've heard rumors about new batteries for Chinese-built Teslas, but it's unclear whether this has anything to do with a so-called "million-mile" battery.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
Tesla Model 3 deliveries in China
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Tesla Model 3 deliveries in China

Tesla seems close to showing off some sort of new battery technology.


Tesla appears closer to bringing potentially cheaper electric car batteries to market in China with new filings with the state government.

Electrek reported on the filing Monday, which details a Tesla Model 3 with a lithium-iron phosphate battery, which will likely come from its battery partner in China, CATL. What isn't clear is if this lithium-iron phosphate unit is Tesla's so-called "million-mile battery." Rumors have ramped up about this battery, which won't use cobalt to keep costs down and provide a million miles worth of total use. This lithium-iron battery (not to be confused with lithium-ion) detailed in Chinese government filings doesn't use cobalt. The filings also show the Model 3's basic specifications haven't changed.

Tesla did not immediately return a request for comment on the filings.

What this battery gives up in favor of cost reductions is energy density, but rumors around the million-mile battery program suggest CATL has made improvements to the chemistry's energy density to help close the gap with lithium-ion units.

If this is another clue that Tesla has big battery plans in the works, it could be a game changer for the automaker. Previous reports peg a cobalt-free battery to help bring the Model 3's cost closer to parity with internal-combustion-engine powered cars. All of the tech would be for China first, but some version would eventually come to North America.

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