M3P is the name of the new variant of the lithium iron phosphate battery – it is said to offer more energy density than LFP, but lower costs than NMC
The Chinese battery manufacturer CATL wants to start series production and delivery of the new M3P battery this year. The new cell chemistry is said to offer lower costs than batteries based on nickel and cobalt and have a higher energy density than lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cells. CATL boss Zeng Yuqun said on Friday at an online briefing for investors.CATL bei der IAA Transportation 2022 Zoom
The M3P battery is a further development of LFP batteries. Apparently, doped lithium iron phosphate is used for the cathode in the M3P technology. Part of the iron in the olivine structure of LFP is replaced by metals such as magnesium, zinc or aluminium. This may also be the explanation for the name M3P: three metals and P for phosphate. M3P should not be confused with the lithium-manganese-iron-phosphate (LMFP) battery that Tesla, Nio and BYD are said to be researching.
CATL announced in August 2022 that it was working on an M3P battery. At that time, it was said that the energy density was 10 to 20 percent better than with normal LFP batteries. This means a range of 700 kilometers is possible if the new cell chemistry is combined with CATL’s new battery pack technology. The battery pack technology probably means CATL’s third-generation cell-to-pack technology (CTP 3.0), which the company also uses in its Qilin battery.
CTP 3.0 offers, among other things, a new approach to cooling zoom
According to a media report, the M3P battery is to be used in the Tesla Model Y, in a 72 kWh version. The base model with rear-wheel drive, which is built exclusively in China, has so far used a 62 kWh LFP battery with prismatic cells from CATL, according to information from the TTF forum. In the all-wheel drive variants, a 79 kWh NMC battery (nickel, manganese, cobalt) with 2170 cells from LG is then used.
CATL is currently the world’s largest battery manufacturer; In addition to Tesla, customers also include Volkswagen, BMW and others. The company has a dominant position in the market for LFP batteries.
Zeng said CATL is struggling to develop a competitive solid-state battery. M3P is apparently intended to fill this gap in the portfolio. Among others, Nissan, the VW partner QuantumScape, Nio with its partner WeLion and the Chinese battery manufacturer Svolt are working on the solid-state battery. Like LFP batteries, solid-state batteries are designed to offer long life, good thermal stability, and low flammability. However, the energy density should be higher for solid-state batteries.
CATL’s dominance in the battery market recently caught the attention of Chinese President Xi Jinping. In early March, the head of state said he was both pleased and concerned about the firm’s rise.