Tesla in talks to use CATL’s cobalt-free batteries in China-made cars

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Tesla is in advanced stages of talks to use batteries from CATL that contain no cobalt - one of the most expensive metals in electric vehicle (EV) batteries - in cars made at its China plant, people familiar with the matter said.

Adoption would mark the first time for the U.S. automaker to include so-called lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries in its lineup, as it seeks to lower production costs amid faltering overall EV sales in China.

Tesla has been talking to the Chinese manufacturer for more than a year to supply LFP batteries that will be cheaper than its existing batteries by a "double-digit percent," said a person directly involved in the matter, who was not authorized to speak with media and so declined to be identified. Tesla Inc and Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL) declined to comment.

EV manufacturers usually use nickel-cobalt-aluminum (NCA) or nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) batteries on passenger vehicles because of their higher energy density, which is critical in determining how far an EV can drive on single charge.

To boost the density and safety of its LFP batteries, CATL has been working on its so-called cell-to-pack technology, the people told Reuters.