Tesla Model 3 cobalt-free LFP version details

While most automakers are still making excuses to delay the massification of electric cars, the Standard Range Plus version of the Tesla Model 3 made in China already has an extremely safe, durable, simple and cheap cobalt-free LFP battery from CATL and an impressive profit margin of 35 %.

This version costs 291.800 yuan (36.480 euros) before government subsidies and 271.550 yuan (33.948 euros) after subsidies.

Curiously, in the more expensive Long Range version of the same electric car made in China the profit margin is lower (32 %). In this version the battery is more complex and made with NCM 811 cylindrical battery cells from LG Chem.

Moreover, profit margins can even double if Tesla starts sourcing more components from local suppliers.

Automakers that say they are losing money with their overpriced electric cars are either lying or doing it wrong. Maybe it’s both…

Let’s see the specs of the Tesla Model 3 made in China with LFP battery.

  • Length: 4.694 mm
  • Width: 1.850 mm
  • Height: 1.443 mm
  • Gross mass: 2.170 kg
  • Curb weight: 1.745 kg
  • Max speed: 225 km/h (140 mph)
  • Range (NEDC): 468 km (291 miles)
  • Battery energy density: 125 Wh/kg
  • Energy consumption: 12,6 kWh/100 km
  • Battery type: LiFePO4 (LFP)
  • Motor type: Permanent magnet synchronous motor (PMSM)
  • Motor power: 202 kW
  • Moor RPM: 5.000
  • Motor torque: 404 Nm

In the more realistic WLTP test cycle the range should be around 351 km (218 miles).

Unfortunately we still don’t know the capacity of the battery or cells. Some rumors suggest that the battery pack is made with 108 cells (108s1p). It’s suggested that CATL’s battery pack is either module-less or it has 4 modules and each module has 27 cells as you can see from the drawing below.

Hypothetical Tesla Model 3 LFP battery from CATL

Anyway, the gravimetric energy density of 125 Wh/kg at the battery pack level is disappointing, considering that the BYD Blade Battery achieves 140 Wh/kg.

Summing up…

Energy density: 125 Wh/kg (not amazing)

Profit margin: 35 % (very amazing)

Now I wonder what’s next. If Tesla starts producing a supermini at its upcoming plant in Germany and sells it for less than 30.000 euros before subsidies, it’ll easily dominate the European market.

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