Tesla powertrain with LFP Battery
Armen Hareyan's picture

LFP Batteries: Pros and Cons as Elon Shifts Some Teslas to LFP

Tesla CEO Elon Musk last month indicated Tesla will make a big battery shift to LFP batteries. But what are the pros and cons of the LFP batteries in standard range Tesla vehicles?
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According to a tweet from the Tesla's CEO, Elon Musk, Tesla is shifting its standard-range car batteries from lithium-ion to iron-cathode (LFP battery). Musk in his tweet sited concerns with nickel and the challenges of scaling lithium-ion production as the reason for the move.

When I published this video report at Torque News Youtube Channel, one of our users named Alexander Jack, commented and sent me an email explaining the pros and cons of LFP batteries in electric cars, which I am sharing with Torque News readers.

LFP Battery Pros

  • LFP (LiFePO4) is very underappreciated and often confused with Li-ion (which is a different chemistry). There are lots of advantages - I prefer them.
  • Pros (compared to Li-ion):
  • Much longer life cycle (10,000+ cycles in some cases - millions of miles).
  • Non-toxic, cobalt free and YES - nickel free. Lots of issues with Cobalt too (a whole story there).
  • Much cheaper in theory. Already under $100/kWh in China.
  • Safety. Aside from being non-toxic, LiFePO4 is also much more stable - less prone to explosion or fire from misuse or structural damage.
  • Lower internal resistance. This means they can deliver power faster than Li-ion (better acceleration ect). Also it should mean higher charge/discharge efficiency *I couldn't find clarification there*.
  • Very consistent discharge voltage (less power loss as they run out of charge).
  • Long shelf life.

LFP Battery Cons

  • Lower voltage (3.2v compared to 3.7).
  • Lower energy density. From what I understand it's somewhere between 15 and 25%. But because of the long life cycle, after sometimes as little as 1 year of ownership, they'll actually have more capacity compared to a similar weight Li-ion (LiCoO2) battery.
  • That's actually pretty much it. Just energy density.

"If you ask me," writes jack, "LiFePO4 is actually preferable for everything other than high performance luxury vehicles. It seems crazy that it has been so overlooked and underappreciated."

What the world needs now is more batteries and cheaper EVs, not more performance and luxury EVs. It is very frustrating as most people don't know about the benefits of the LFP batteries for electric vehicles. Jack says he thinks the LFP battery is really a potential answer to mass adoption of electric vehicles. Do you agree with this view?

For reference, please also see: "All of Tesla’s 4680 Batteries May Not Be Equal."

Also watch a more detailed analysis of LFP batteries from Torque news Youtube channel below.

Armen Hareyan is the founder and the Editor in Chief of Torque News. He founded TorqueNews.com in 2010, which since then has been publishing expert news and analysis about the automotive industry. He can be reached at Torque News Twitter, Facebok, Linkedin and Youtube.


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Comments

There have been reports in the EU about terrible charging speeds in cold weather on MIC SR+s. There was a story that Tesla has fixed it. Would someone with a MIC SR like to clarify if the problem has been fixed.
You missed cold charging, all common commercially available LiFePO4 cells are damaged by charging when the cells are under 0°C . Some current LiFe battery manufacturers build heat strips into their packs to combat this. Tesla could probably use the octovalve HVAC system to warm their pack but the damage from cold charging should be mentioned as a Con. It's also important to mention that discharging LiFe is similar to the common Li-ion chemistries in the cold.