Tesla negotiates with The Ninder era: or use cobalt-free batteries in domestic electric cars

Tesla is in advanced talks with Ninder Times New Energy Technologies Co., Ltd. (“Ningde Times,” 300750) to discuss the use of cobalt-free batteries in electric vehicles at its Shanghai super plant, Reuters reported. If that is achieved, the lithium phosphate (LFP) battery will be incorporated into the Tesla production line for the first time, promising to reduce production costs for the models involved.

In the field of power batteries, lithium iron phosphate batteries and terabehaving are two major technical routes. Electric car manufacturers today typically use triumvial batteries such as nickel-cobalt aluminum (NCA) batteries and nickel-manganese cobalt (NMC) batteries in passenger cars. The battery has a higher energy density and greater battery life, but the cobalt element is also one of the most expensive metals in a power battery.

Tesla negotiates with The Ninder era: or use cobalt-free batteries in domestic electric cars

It is reported that the Ningde era to take a three-yuan battery-based, iron phosphate-heavy heavy technical route. In order to improve the density and safety of lithium iron phosphate batteries, Ningde has been studying battery packaging technology to increase the efficiency of the volume utilization of battery packs and reduce assembly costs.

Sources told Reuters that compared to the three-yuan battery, the production cost of iron phosphate lithium battery is expected to “fall by more than double-digit percentages.” Another source said it was unclear to what extent Tesla intended to use lithium iron phosphate batteries, but it had no plans to stop using the current nickel-cobalt aluminum battery.

Notably, the introduction of lithium iron phosphate batteries will also help Tesla CEO Elon Musk deliver on his 2018 commitment to cut the use of cobalt in Tesla to “almost zero.” Musk said at the January earnings conference that Tesla will share future battery strategies and technologies during Battery Day in April, including details of cooperation with The Nindh era and LG Chemical on batteries.

In response to these matters, Ningde Times said that the company “has the ability to provide appropriate and competitive solutions based on customer needs, to bring value to customers.”

Tesla sources responded to the Securities Times that Tesla had a cooperation agreement with the Ninder era, which contains lithium iron phosphates that are not cobalt-free in itself, but did not comment on whether the partnership would eventually land. In addition, Tesla is expected to announce specific information about its own research and development of the composition of the new battery at its April meeting.

On February 3rd, the Ningde Times announced that it plans to sign agreements with Tesla and Tesla (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. to supply lithium-ion power edgeus battery products to Tesla. The supply period is from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2022.

Ningde era was established in 2011, the business covers the new energy vehicle power battery system, energy storage system research and development, production and sales, with power and energy storage battery field including materials, cell, battery system, battery recovery secondary utilization of the core technology. Data from China Automotive Power Battery Industry Innovation Alliance show that in 2019, China’s power battery installed volume accumulated 62.2GWh, of which Ningde era installed 31.46GWh, ranking first, with a market share of 50.57%.

At the close of trading on February 18th, ningde era closed at 156.62 yuan per share, up 1.64%.