Tesla supplier Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL) is reportedly set to start the production of its next-generation M3P batteries. The M3P batteries are expected to offer 15% greater energy density than traditional lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, which are used in vehicles such as the Model 3 RWD today.
In August last year, CATL announced that it was working on new battery technology. And during an investor briefing last Friday, Chairman Zeng Yuqun noted that the new battery’s development had been successful. The executive also noted that the new battery would cost less and perform better than nickel and cobalt-based competitors.
The M3P batteries feature an energy density that’s about 15% higher than the 210 kWh/kg in current LFP batteries. This energy density should enable vehicles to achieve a range of about 700 km (430 miles) per charge, at least if it’s used alongside CATL’s next-generation battery pack technology, as noted in a Reuters report. For context, the base Tesla Model 3 currently uses LFP batteries that are supplied by CATL.
CATL is already a notable presence in the battery sector. With this in mind, the introduction of M3P batteries would likely encourage customers such as Tesla to embrace the new technology. The M3P batteries, provided that they are successful, should also make CATL even more prolific in the market.
CATL already accounts for over one-third of total battery sales, providing EV batteries to major automakers such as Volkswagen, BMW, and Ford. One of the company’s primary customers, of course, is Tesla, the undisputed leader in the electric vehicle sector.
The significance of the partnership between CATL and Tesla is emphasized by the battery giant’s establishment of a new 70 GWh factory just 5 km from Tesla’s Gigafactory Shanghai. Tesla’s Shanghai factory is currently the company’s largest by volume, providing Model 3 sedans and Model Y crossovers to both the international and domestic markets.
CATL’s prominence in the battery sector has attracted the attention of notable leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Chinese president noted earlier this month that he was “pleased and concerned” about CATL’s rise. CATL would likely rise even more in the coming years, however, especially considering the plans of companies like Tesla, as well as the continued emergence of the electric vehicle sector.