Tesla has made a change to its Megapack energy storage units as they are now being made with lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery cells.
The change was noted by Canaccord Genuity analyst Jed Dorsheimer, who said the shift to the cobalt free batteries could reduce costs and ease demand for the supply-constrained nickel-based batteries.
“Tesla announced that Megapack will be using LFP cathode batteries, similar to the entry-level Made-in-China Model 3/Ys. This is significant, as Tesla ramps up their grid-scale energy storage product without drawing further on an already supply-constrained nickel-based battery production capacity used in 2170s,” said Dorsheimer.
Since LFP batteries contain no cobalt, one of the most expensive materials that go into a battery, they cost less to produce. The trade-off is they are less energy dense than the current nickel manganese (NMC) batteries used in Tesla vehicles.
Perhaps the first major project to use the new LFP Megapacks will be in Texas. It was revealed earlier this year that Gambit Energy Storage LLC is building a 100-megawatt battery storage project in Angleton, about 40 miles outside of Houston.
According to project documents posted to the city’s website, the Gambit Energy Storage Park will provide the local grid with “backup energy reserves and help integrate and stabilize new renewable energy resources.”
It was also noted the storage park will utilize LFP batteries. The company says they are known for their “thermal stability, enhanced safety, and tolerance to mechanical stress.”
Tesla already uses LFP batteries for the Standard Range Plus (SR+) Model 3 built at Giga Shanghai. With its different chemistry than the NMC batteries, the automaker recommends charging daily to 100%. Recent changes to Tesla’s website hint that Canadian SR+ Model 3’s could also get the new batteries soon, something with Elon Musk earlier this year said would happen.