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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.

Tesla Model 3 deliveries in China
Tesla seems close to showing off some sort of new battery technology.
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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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