EViF white paper: The West's LFP battery headache
Governments and OEMs face three choices, none of them ideal
The lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery breakthrough announced by China's Catl with its Shenxing product in August is both a boon and problem for the global EV industry.
It promises to solve some of the charging and performance issues that have hampered LFP against its nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) alternative, while still delivering on its cost, raw material access and safety advantages.
But the fact that Catl — in common with its closest rivals on LFP chemistry — is Chinese gives US and European governments and automakers a headache. And this is especially true given the amount of public money being expended on trying to create battery supply chains with significantly reduced Chinese dependency and growing political will on both sides of the Atlantic to ‘do something’ about Chinese dominance of the EV space.
EV inFocus has spoken to some of the world's leading battery exports to produce this white paper on what Catl's announcement means and what might happen next. The white paper is FREE to download, but, if you are not already a member of the EV inFocus community, you need to register below to access it.
The key takeaways are:
• The Shenxing LFP battery does promise to change the game in terms of expanding the share of the EV market that LFP will take relative to NMC
• Western government and OEMs' largely politically preferred South Korean and Japanese battery makers are currently nowhere on LFP; Catl's nearest competitors are other Chinese firms
• The West has three choices, none of them ideal:
1) Go with China’s LFP leaders
Promises the quickest way to rollout of affordable BEVS, but comes with material political risk
2) Wait until Korean, Japanese or even US and European battery makers catch up on LFP
The technical expertise may be there, but there is execution and scaling risk
Could delay mass adoption of BEVs by making them more expensive for longer
3) Find a collaborative approach with a level of Chinese involvement that is politically palatable