Will the $25,000 Tesla use faster-charging CATL LFP cells?

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Battery supplier CATL is developing faster-charging battery cells for Tesla, according to Bloomberg (via Automotive News).

CATL chairman Robin Zeng mentioned this project in an interview with Bloomberg in Hong Kong on Monday, in which he also confirmed that CATL is supplying equipment for Tesla’s Nevada battery factory. Zeng also mentioned Tesla’s ongoing effort to develop a $25,000 electric car, perhaps hinting that the new cells may go into it.

Tesla charging

“There’s always room for cost reduction depending on what the $25,000 car’s aim is,” Zeng said, noting that a “robotaxi” wouldn’t require cost reduction at the cell level because the longer life cycle of CATL’s batteries would keep average cost for that application lower.

Since its 2020 Battery Day, the company has been pushing ahead to make its own cells but hasn’t backed away either from sourcing cells from other suppliers. Tesla already uses CATL LFP cells, which cost less to make in money and carbon footprint, in the Model 3 in the U.S., and in the Model Y for some other markets, and it was at one time also considering the LFP-based BYD Blade battery for its vehicles made in China.

CATL Shenxing battery

CATL Shenxing battery

CATL, for its part, already boasted last year that its next-generation LFP battery tech can add 250 miles of range in 10 minutes. In addition to Tesla, its customers include BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Ford, which has restarted construction on a Michigan plant making CATL LFP cells under license—and what Ford touted as a key to future EV affordability.

Biden administration policies have already set a strong policy discouraging Chinese content, although a second Trump administration might apply a different kind of action.

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