Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) Batteries

Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) Batteries

There are many types of Lithium Ion (cobalt, magnesium, polymer, etc.) batteries on the market.

Lithium Iron Phosphate seems to be the best choice at this time.
It's has:
• between 2000 to 3000 life cycles of recharging
• doesn't heat up as fast (stays cool)
• does not suffer from “thermal runaway”
• Extremely low self discharge rate
• virtually flat discharge curve means maximum power available until fully discharged (no “voltage sag” as with lead acid batteries)
• can be safely rapidly recharged

Which one will Tesla be using in the model S ?

Timo | March 15, 2011

Considering low energy density of current LiFePO4 batteries that will not be the choice for a long(ish) time, unless car is meant to be city car.

I don't know the chemistry used in 300 mile battery but it will be Panasonic 3.1Ah (or 3.4Ah) battery. Smaller packs are cobalt ones.

jfeister | March 15, 2011

There have been many folks giving recommendations to Tesla on battery chemistry / form factors based on advantages they've heard about. You have to keep in mind this is an electric car company, and perhaps the world leader in electric drive-train technology. They have entire laboratories dedicated to testing various chemistries, and a lot of smart folks dedicated full time to researching the advantages and disadvantages of each. It's quite likely that if anyone knows what the best choice at this time is for electric cars, given all the trade off's, it's the folks at Tesla.

Ramon123 | March 15, 2011

Agree with jfeister - virtually impossible for anyone to know something that Tesla's battery people don't know, about batteries.
We should be asking them questions.

band27 | March 15, 2011

Absolutely agree and was just hoping for an inside scoop.

Cobalt is certainly not a good combo as these batteries do offering better then average mileage per capacity however it's done at the expense of safety as these batteries tend to over heat and if punctured, they can create thermal runaway which means, blazing fire initiates.

I'm sure tesla has this all under control if indeed, Cobalt is the battery tech of choice for extending their mileage.

William13 | March 15, 2011

The battery is "Nickel Oxide based New Platform" which is a version of lithium ion with a nickel positive electrode. It also has a Heat Resistance Layer for extra safety versus other similar batteries. The standard batteries for 230 and 160 mile don't require this as they are inherently safer.

See the PDF that Eberhart found in the forum. Pages 17 and 18.

searcher | March 16, 2011

I know Tesla people in lab know their stuff but I am putting my money on Timo when it comes to the website concerning batteries. The man simply knows his stuff here, although I admit how would I know.

Brian H | March 17, 2011

jfeister, searcher;
Telling Tesla about batteries is really "teaching yore gramma to suck eggs"! ;)

These comments should be for each other to learn and speculate about.

I should warn you that Timo HATES people who try to suck up to him!! He uses his Black Hat Hacker tricks to send them deadly viruses. You'd better start wearing latex gloves when you touch your mouse or keyboard!

searcher | March 17, 2011

BrianH I admit I have tried to change my tone a bit and honestly have found myself feeling in "suck up" mode both with timo and yourself. I also submit you are biggest timo "suck up" on the website, just go back and review. Maybe suck up is not correct term more like "timo back up". Which is your perogative as my comments are my perogatives. Truly believe he is focussed and grounded on batteries. Hope you have had your antiviral shots to. Don't worry about me I have a built in gyro that tells me if getting too much in "suck up" mode and insulting anyones intelligence. Get your gyro checked out, as the post you just sent was a kind of "backdoor" "i know you don't like this,timo", "suck up". Think about it.

Brian H | March 17, 2011

My post was a joke. Pls re-read.

BTW, are you using the latex gloves?


searcher | March 18, 2011

I then accept your post as a joke and forgive me for being a little too tightly wound when I read it. But honestly have been feeling in somewhat of uncomfortable "suck up" mode and I think you inadvertantly struck a nerve. But should work on it, ok to be in agreeable and coporative mode without feeling I am "sucking up" and thus insulting my own and maybe someone elses intelligence. Don't have to be such an argumentive "bleep" so much.

searcher | March 18, 2011

Are their plenty of natural resources to build the advanced batteries coming down the pike? Hope so.

Roblab | March 26, 2011

I too am tempted to reply to or ask questions of almost every thread. Then I remember that I am one of the less educated, less intelligent people and that most people really don't want to know what I think, so I leave it unsaid. Nobody has missed any of my wisdon.
You are to my knowledge one of the most vocal (or keyboardal) commenters. You insist you are searching. I suggest that you and I reply to half the things we think are important, and read twice as much in these forums, learning from that. Other good sites about energy, batteries, aerodynamics, can be found on the web, and I have convinced myself that hundreds of very bright Tesla employees probably know more than I do. I don't question their decisions.
I apologize if this comes across as smug or superior. It is not intended. I have been told that my opinion is not needed enough times to actually believe it.
You may also ignore it. :-)

KarlC | April 22, 2013


I was wondering if we have any updates regarding the type of battery Tesla is using. I would agree with Timo that LiFePO4 would be my choice but i'm curious why so or why not.



jat | April 22, 2013

@KarlC - Tesla uses Lithium Cobalt-oxide batteries, manufactured to order by Panasonic. LiFePO4 has some nice features particularly about putting up with abuse on charge/discharge, but it is also much lower energy density. That means you would have a hard time getting the same range as the Model S using them, as you would have to have about 14% more volume dedicated to batteries.

Also, A123 (now B456, yes really!) owns many of the patents around this, and they went bankrupt and had to be bailed out by a Chinese company. GM is still using A123 for the Spark which is supposed to ship this summer and Fisker used them in the Karma, but none of the other EVs do to my knowledge (most are using LiMn).

The fact that Tesla has quite a bit of experience using these cells (Roadster owners report very good degradation properties) and they are the only ones to offer long-range EVs, I think they know what they are doing. I suspect if something came along that was truly better, they would be all over it.