There have been some minor differences between the American-made Tesla models and the Chinese-made models since the opening of the Shanghai Gigafactory.
However, Tesla has been working with LG Chem and CATL on their batteries in China, as opposed to Panasonic, who they’ve partnered with in the past. As a result of this, differences in battery production wouldn’t be unbelievable, albeit so far they’re undivulged.
Well, as their Battery Investors Day fast approaches, we get a juicy tidbit out of the East. It appears that some regulatory paperwork filed with Beijing officials, shows Tesla will be using lithium iron phosphate chemistry in their Chinese cells.
Importantly, this new chemistry costs less, and doesn’t use cobalt. These two properties are key to the speculation surrounding the upcoming battery announcements from Tesla. However, the LFP batteries that Tesla looks to use in China, have been overlooked by other manufacturers for traditionally having less energy-density than other chemistries.
Now, if Tesla, through their CATL partnership, has found some way to make these cheaper batteries more energy-dense, that could be a significant milestone in electric vehicle adoption.
Furthermore, as seen with interior trim in the past weeks, Tesla is all about making streamlined adaptations to production. This means that changes in the production of their cars in China, sould soon be implemented in the US and European markets.