Confirmed: MIC Tesla Model 3 Will Have Prismatic LFP Cells

Sean Mitchell’s sources said the conversations have taken one year.

Sean Mitchell said in the tweet below he would be willing to bet Tesla would not have a car with prismatic LFP cells, as InsideEVs published on February 19. We’re glad he didn’t since he has confirmed with his own sources that this is going to happen soon, probably by April. Besides confirming what Benchmark Mineral Intelligence told us, Mitchell also added interesting information with the video above.

According to the youtuber, Tesla has been talking to CATL for around a year to adopt these new cell format and chemistry in its entry-level MIC (Made In China) Model 3. The Chinese Standard Rage will have a range of more than 155 mi (250 km) to be eligible for EV subsidies, will be much cheaper than the current derivatives for sale, and will also last longer, due to the lithium iron phosphate (LFP) chemistry.

As we said in that first article, Tesla did not focus on a cobalt-free battery for environmental concerns. It went for it solely due to value. As you see below, Mitchell works with savings of up to 20 percent, which would make the $13,331 cost only $10,665. In a $30,000 car, that is almost a 10 percent difference saving. But the fact is that Tesla will save even more.

Simon Moores, managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, speaks of a more than 25 percent economy. If we work with the more conservative number – 25 percent – the battery pack cost drops to $9,998. That is almost the same price Munro & Associates estimate for the 22 kWh BMW i3 battery pack.

We are not even adding to the equation the fact that CATL will use a new method to increase the energy density of the LFP chemistry called cell-to-pack – or CTP. It basically saves weight, allowing the battery pack to offer more energy with the same mass of a less energy-dense solution. Obrist Powertrain has adopted a similar approach with its vacuum fixation technology.

We can’t wait to see what this new entry-level Tesla Model 3 will have to offer. More than that, we would love to see Tesla export it if it is really that good in terms of cost, but this is not very likely. Tesla will probably have a lot of work to meet Chinese demand alone.

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