EV Companies Not Using Iron LFP Batteries Are Doomed

Volkswagen, Ford and GM are making nickel batteries. Nickel batteries are currently about twice as expensive as iron LFP batteries. LFP battery volume will be about 80% of the total battery market in 2024-2025. Nickel prices are increasing and LFP battery mass production will drive down their prices faster. Iron LFP batteries could become three times less expensive than nickel batteries.

EV Companies without Iron LFP batteries will only have the supplies to compete for 20% of the EV market in 2015. If Tesla retains 60% of the nickel battery EV market, then legacy auto combined will have a maximum of 10% of the EV market in 2025. It will take a minimum of 2-3 years and probably longer to launch new iron LFP EV models and to build and adapt factories. EV Companies with 1-2% market share will have massive economies of scale disadvantages. They will also be using more expensive batteries with further cost disadvantages.

Ford’s EV plans are for 240 GWh of annual global EV battery capacity by 2030 which would be enough for 2 million F150 Lightning. Ford and SK On have to actually execute to reach that level of battery production and Ford will have to make the factories to build the EVs and Ford will have to be able to successfully sell those EVs. Ford will get about 80% (up to 170-185 GWh) from SK On.

SK On’s second plant in Georgia, US: 11 GWh

Ford and SK Innovation’s SK On joint venture (BlueOvalSK): 129 GWh
1) Stanton, west Tennessee – Blue Oval City (43 GWh) – 2025
2) and 3) Glendale, central Kentucky – BlueOvalSK Battery Park (2x 43 GWh) – 2025
New JV in Turkey: 30-45 GWh
Total: 170-185 GWh or 70-77% out of 240 GWh total

Ford will be struggling to reach the 120 GWh/year battery level in 2026 to have the batteries for 1 million EVs per year.

GM is developing their own Ultium battery line. Ultium batteries are using nickel chemistry. The main selling point of the Ultium batteries is that they use 70% less cobalt than other nickel batteries. Nickel prices have gone up a lot with the war in Ukraine. It is not just the cobalt making nickel chemistry batteries more expensive.

GM’s third battery plant for its Ultium Cells LLC joint venture with LG Energy Solution will be located in Lansing, Michigan. Site preparations for the $2.4 billion plant are scheduled to begin this summer, while cell production is scheduled to begin in 2024.

GM expects these projects to give it North American manufacturing capacity for 1 million EVs annually, including 600,000 electric trucks once both the Orion facility and the Detroit-area “Factory Zero” are fully ramped up.

Tesla produced 936000 EVs in 2021 and had manufacturing capacity over 1.3 million cars at the end of 2021. Tesla’s production in December 2021, was an annualized runrate of 1.3 million cars. VW, GM and Ford have to have fantastic execution in order to be only four years behind Tesla.

Toyota is partnering with BYD to make an iron LFP blade battery version of the Toyota Corolla. Partnering with Chinese carmakers who have a lot of iron LFP battery supply and experience is a reasonable path to making a competitive EV. There is no guarantee that such joint venture cars will be profitable or successful. Profits would be halved for Toyota.

SOURCES- Ford, GM, InsideEV, VW, Car and Driver
Written by Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

26 thoughts on “EV Companies Not Using Iron LFP Batteries Are Doomed”

  1. Tesla is not using LiFePo, Brian.

    What happened to the lithium titanate/spinel chemistries? These seemed more promising than iron phosphate chemistry to me.

  2. We'd go to the sea floor before asteroids,Nickel crashed in price the day this article was published.

  3. LFP definitely not the answer. Old tech. If they were viable we'd already be using them in mass. regarding nickel scarcity….it's a pretty commonly occurring element in asteroids is it not?

    • The biggest producer of Batteries in the World..CATL…Believe They ARE the future and already have a better version..LFMP……..Paul

  4. Which works better as a buffer for H? Am I the only one who knows about H? Batteries are dead as primary vehicle source of power as soon as H is avail, that is, now, the Next Big Future.

  5. Freightliner has all sorts of cold weather options for it's class 8 trucks. Insulated fuel tanks, engine coolant filled heat exchangers in fuel tanks, insulated fuel lines, radiator intake air dampers operated from the cab, in tank fuel pumps with electric heaters, ether starting fluid spray cans, operable from cab.
    If nothing else cars headed to northern tier states, and Canada could have insulated battery packs. Of course, there's always the option of using a garage.
    Lots of people in cold climates use block heaters for their IC cars, my tractor has one. 120VAC would be enough to stay warm, if not charge quickly.

  6. The titular is wrong. The potential problem are bottlenecks in raw materials. Actually, by order of scarcity, cobalt, nickel and… far but also existent.. lithium.

    But there is other batteries that could take the initiative, also it's not easy to predict that bottlenecks.

    We know that these batteries has better performance for more expensive resources (logical, because on other circumstances that chemical compositions would turn obsolete already).

    Also there is even sodium batteries that doesn't depend on lithium. But we don't know if the reserves will be enough or thanks to better densities, they can support higher prices.

    If the demand will choose one type of battery or another, we don't know without knowing each hidden variables.

    IT could be a experimental chemical like metal-lithium or lithium-sulfur. It could be even based on sodium or the prices could be lower because we start to mining new resources like the deep sea floor. Who knows?

    LFP are just a known bet with low risk (lithium is a risk, but low). Not necessary the winner.

  7. Car Companies will either outsource or convert their battery factories. It will only take a year or so.

  8. Tesla has signed a contract with Gotion High-Tech to buy their LFP batteries in the USA. Gotion High-Tech will build a 200 GWh/year factory close to giga texas.

    I.e. Tesla is planning to sell ~3 million vehicles with LFP batteries in the USA alone…

  9. Advancement is a given. You won’t recognize what goes for batteries in a few years compared to their predecessors.

  10. And there is no doubt with the renewed interest in them, they’ll be be getting another long look, which will lead to advancements and ultimately more range.

  11. Oh, I’m sold. They’re cheaper and you can essentially abuse them, if battery abuse is defined as constantly charging to 100% and letting it sit for days, something that makes some people twitchy. The slightly less range? With new interest comes new research and eventually innovation. LFP batteries will improve now.

  12. That's a possibility: Enough of some more cold resistant battery to jump start the battery pack heating process.

  13. Is is probable that material science and chemistry advances continue to advance and introduce other combinations to improve performance and reduce costs of the EV battery.

    In the short term Brian has a point, but by 2030, I suspect the lithium iron battery will be old news.

  14. Is it a problem though? If it's only charging when cold that doesn't work, then the charger can just run a preheater.

  15. This is obviously going to be a very big problem in Northern states. Sure, if you always park your car connected to a charger you'll be fine. The first time you park it in the winter without a charger connected? You're calling a tow truck.

  16. Iron phosphate batteries don't hold as much charge and range as lithium-nickle batteries, and Tesla is currently only using them in China, to keep costs down while sacrificing range somewhat.

    • I have some LFP batteries that have been sitting fully charged for 2 Years….And They are still holding FULL charge and discharge…Paul

  17. I think the critical temperature for LiFeP is the freezing point of water 32F, or 0C. If you plug in your charger when you park your car, it should never be a problem, even in cold weather.
    If the car is V2G the battery controller could charge or discharge the battery, whichever makes more sense every time the cells fall below, say 5C. Resistive losses heat the batteries. Hint: All battery electric cars should be V2G.

  18. Preheating. Problem solved.

    My concern is that I don't know that Tesla has their own LFP battery production in the pipeline. In light of the much lower price for LFP, the 4680 battery seems much less remarkable.

  19. You're probably right, but lithium iron phosphate batteries cannot be charged if they're cold. For vehicles in most of the land area on Earth that's a big problem.

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