Tesla is reportedly in talks with Chinese battery maker EVE Energy Co for a potential supply deal for low-cost batteries. EVE’s batteries will reportedly be used to boost Gigafactory Shanghai’s supply chain, as per information related to Reuters by individuals familiar with the matter.
EVE is noted for producing lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cells, which are affordable to produce but generally have lower density than NCA (nickel cobalt aluminum) batteries, which Tesla also uses. Tesla is already using LFP batteries for its vehicles such as the Made-in-China Model 3 Standard Range Plus currently produced in Gigafactory Shanghai. Tesla’s LFP batteries have so far been supplied by Contemporary Amperex Technology Co (CATL).
EVE Energy could then become Tesla’s second supplier for LFP batteries. Reuters‘ sources, who have opted to remain anonymous, also noted that the talks between the EV maker and the battery supplier are already advanced, with Tesla looking to finalize the partnership in the third quarter.
One of the news outlet’s sources also noted that EVE Energy is now running some final-stage tests for the LFP batteries that Tesla would potentially use. So far, however, neither EVE nor Tesla has issued a comment about the potential battery supply deal.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been pretty open about the company’s need to secure more battery supply. This is despite the fact that Tesla itself is making its own batteries in the form of its custom 4680 cells, which are expected to be used in vehicles like the Made-in-Germany Model Y, the Cybertruck, the Semi, and possibly the Model S Plaid+.
This was highlighted in the fourth quarter and full-year 2020 earnings call. “I want to be really clear, Tesla wants to increase purchases from cell suppliers. And we’ve been very clear with our cell suppliers, whether it be CATL or Panasonic or LG, that we will take as many batteries as they can produce. So — and we urge them to increase their production, and we will buy as much as they can send to us,” Elon Musk said.
A greater supply for low-cost batteries in China would likely play a role in improving Tesla’s capability to produce more of its base vehicles in Gigafactory Shanghai. CATL’s LFP cells are already being used in the Model 3 Standard Range Plus. EVE’s cells may then be used in more affordable variants of the Made-in-China Model Y, or perhaps even the $25,000 car that’s expected to be unveiled soon.
With EVE Energy as a supplier, Tesla could take a step towards its goal of producing 20 million vehicles across the globe per year before 2030.