2020/05/20 From：China Automotive News (Gasgoo)
The China-made Tesla Model 3 powered by lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries has appeared in a catalogue issued by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) on May 15, according to local media reports. Although the information was deleted afterwards, it still triggered a speculation within the industry that the locally-produced model will be priced lower by using the cheaper batteries.
With a curb weight of 1,745kg, the new model is as heavy as the China-built Model 3's Long-range RWD version that carries a ternary-lithium battery pack. Thus, if the data was confirmed later, the newly-exposed one might be an upgraded variant of the Standard Range as LiFePO4 battery is outperformed by ternary-lithium battery in density.
(China-made Model 3, photo source: Tesla)
Besides, the sedan's measurement still remained unchanged at 4,694mm long, 1,850mm wide and 1,443mm tall. The 2,875-mm wheelbase is as same as that of the existing made-in-China model.
The U.S.-based EV manufacturer is looking to use more auto parts from Chinese indigenous suppliers as part of ongoing efforts to localize its supply chain in the world's largest automobile market. Particularly, the local supply of battery, one of most crucial parts for EV development, might be largely associated with the wiggle room for further reducing prices.
The China-made Model 3 has to-day used LG Chem's NCM 811 cylindrical cells. CATL, China's biggest EV power battery maker confirmed on Feb. 3 it had signed with Tesla, Inc. an agreement, pursuant to which the Ningde-based battery titan would provide the latter with lithium-ion power batteries from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2022. Someone surmise that CATL will afford its LiFePO4 cells, while the battery assembly will still be conducted by Tesla itself.
Reuters reported on May 14 that Tesla plans to introduce a new low-cost, long-life battery in its Model 3 sedan in China later this year or early next, expecting to bring the cost of EVs in line with gasoline models, and allow EV batteries to have second and third lives in the electric power grid. The new battery, which is purportedly designed to last for a million miles of use, is said to be co-developed with CATL.