Written by Kfir Kedem – April 25, 2022
Reviewed by Asaf Kedem
Most of us know consumer electronics and EV batteries to be lithium-ion (Li-ion). Lithium is not the only element in the system, as nickel and cobalt are also in use. Cobalt is a material that is difficult to ethically source due to its mining waste, which causes respiratory health issues as well as contamination of food and water.
A good alternative to Li-ion batteries are LFP (lithium iron phosphate) batteries. These systems rely on materials that are more ethically sourced. Tesla – widely regarded as the EV innovations leader – is already using such batteries with its car range. In China, the Model 3 and Model Y have already been equipped with them. Soon, the Fremont factory will also start producing the Model 3 Standard Range with the LFP batteries. Until now, the main issue with such batteries was the range. Tesla is confident that enough improvements have been made to the technology to sustain the current ranges that the company’s cars are known for.
Auto Trendy’s take:
Tesla is making a commendable effort to become more ethical with its materials. This may also be a way for the company to increase profit margins. At the time of writing this article, cobalt is trading at about $79/kg whereas iron costs about $0.15/kg. That’s quite a saving on the manufacturing of the batteries. For the user however – the car would likely still cost the same. This seems to be a win-win in which Tesla can increase profit margins while also increasing its ethics.