Tesla Shifting Standard Range Cars to Iron Batteries, Says Elon Musk

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Tesla is starting to switch over to iron cathode batteries (lithium iron phosphate or LFP) on its Standard Range cars, confirmed CEO Elon Musk on Thursday.

Sam Korus from ARK Invest shared a chart detailing “Tesla won over California early”, before “winning over” the rest of the United States in 2020.

Musk responded, “This is not about winning anyone over. We are production-limited. The reason we are making our own cells is to *supplement* max production of suppliers. Even moving at full speed, they cannot build enough cells.”

When someone asked if this was the reason Tesla was getting into mining, Musk replied, “Nickel is our biggest concern for scaling lithium-ion cell production. That’s why we are shifting standard range cars to an iron cathode. Plenty of iron (and lithium)!”, said the CEO.

Lithium-ion batteries require Nickel, a key component that allows for more energy density and for producers to lower their reliance on cobalt, predominantly mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo (which also has been accused of using child labour).

Recently, Tesla removed the Model Y Standard Range from its website, which some suspected may be due to component shortages.

Tesla’s Fremont factory in California also recently shut down for two days this week due to unspecified “parts shortages” and only restarted on Wednesday, confirmed Musk.

Musk has long called for ethical nickel mining, and in the future will start making its own 4680 battery cells, to supplement existing batteries from its suppliers. According to Elon Musk, battery cell shortages are preventing the company from shipping its Semi truck sooner.