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Elon Musk Says LFP Battery Cost Is ‘Closer To Nickel,’ But Has Other Advantages

Elon Musk, tweeting on LFP vs Nickel-Cobalt batteries, says “iron’s cost advantage is partly offset by increased pack mass, so the fully considered cost is closer to nickel. That said, iron alleviates much of the scaling problem.”

About three days ago Dr. Maximilian Holland published an in-depth article in Clean Technical about the upcoming Tesla Battery Day and Tesla’s battery advances asking, “Has Elon Musk Already ‘Leaked’ the battery technology that will give scale to the electric vehicle revolution.” Elon tweeted a reply to that story after it was shared on Twitter, writing, “no, but you make some great points.” Then Elon goes into some more details in his response, writing about the battery cost and what alleviates the problem.

In this report, let’s take a look at Dr. Holland’s story in Clean Technica, discuss some of his points about electric battery cost, nickel and iron, and what makes the problem. Then we will apply Elon’s tweet to that and will have a picture of what “some great points” Dr. Holland made in his article.

Holland says he has written extensively on LFP batteries and writes Elon Musk’s statements seem unambiguous to him.

He says, in short, LFP is by far the cheapest and most scalable (in production volume) EV battery chemistry that exists today and for the foreseeable future, being at least 20% cheaper ($/kWh) at the pack level than nickel-cobalt battery packs. If LFP is now a suitable technology fit for Tesla’s highest sales volume vehicles, it would be crazy for Tesla not to use LFP.

This is where we will apply Elon Musk’s Tweet. Elon tweeted, writing that “Important to note that iron’s cost advantage is partly offset by increased pack mass, so the fully considered cost is closer to nickel. That said, iron alleviates much of the scaling problem.”

Holland concludes, writing, “Tesla’s Roadrunner nickel batteries will incorporate all of Tesla’s battery technologies and break new ground in overall performance terms. These will enable Tesla’s cutting edge vehicles to stay well out in front in headline performance, range, charging, and longevity specifications. They will also become the most cost-competitive nickel-based cells that Tesla has access to. Tesla will keep Roadrunner in-house or in tight manufacturing partnerships (Panasonic and/or LG), and gradually expand Roadrunner production volume in Austin, Berlin, and possibly the other Gigafactories.”

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.