In the past, the output and installed capacity of NMC lithium battery have been higher than that of LFP (LiFePO4, lithium iron phosphate battery) with the advantages of high energy density and long endurance mileage. However, this situation changed in the first half of this year. With the continuous iteration of technology, lithium iron phosphate battery has begun to catch up quickly.
Tesla announced on the second quarter earnings conference call in 2021 that Tesla will use 2 / 3 lithium iron phosphate batteries and 1 / 3 nickel batteries in the future, while only 2% cobalt will be used in nickel based batteries. This means that Tesla will fully turn to the application of lithium iron phosphate.
Not only Tesla, in the first half of this year, other car companies are also increasing models equipped with lithium iron phosphate batteries. CICC pointed out in the research report that the popular models such as Tesla Model 3 / model y, BYD Han and Wuling Mini evi drive the rapid recovery of lithium iron phosphate passenger vehicles. It is expected that the installed capacity of lithium iron phosphate battery will increase to 45% - 50% in 2021.
According to the statistics of Shanghai Securities News, in the first half of this year, the newly launched lithium iron phosphate cathode material project had a production capacity of about 1.5 million tons and a total investment scale of more than 40 billion yuan. In 2020, the shipment of lithium iron phosphate cathode materials in China was 124000 tons, and about 175800 tons were shipped in the first half of this year.
The accelerated layout of lithium iron phosphate batteries by battery head enterprises strongly proves that this battery technology route will have greater development space in the future.
NMC VS LFP Battery
As we all know, NMC lithium battery and Lifepo4 or LFP (lithium iron phosphate battery) are the two mainstream technical routes in the electric vehicle market. Compared with NMC lithium batteries, LFP batteries have the advantages of good safety and low cost, but why did the output of LFP batteries not increase significantly until this year?
The primary reason is that the energy density is difficult to meet the market demand. For a long time in the past, the energy density of lithium iron phosphate battery was less than 90Wh / kg, while the energy density of NMC lithium battery was more than 120wh / kg, which means that the lithium iron phosphate battery takes up more space for the same mileage.
Until last year, with the launch of BYD blade battery, this situation took a turn for the better. The data show that BYD blade battery improves the battery energy density per unit space by reducing the battery arrangement spacing. At present, the energy density of BYD blade battery has risen to 140wh / kg, exceeding the previous ternary lithium battery. According to BYD's plan, the energy density of blade battery is expected to continue to rise to 180wh / kg by 2025.
While the energy density is greatly improved, lithium iron phosphate battery still continues the advantages of high safety. Affected by its own materials, the thermal runaway efficiency of NMC lithium battery is high, and it begins to dissolve when the ambient temperature reaches 300 ℃. At the moment of acupuncture, the surface temperature of NMC lithium battery will quickly exceed 500 ℃ and begin to burn violently.
In contrast, lithium iron phosphate battery began to dissolve when the ambient temperature reached 600 ℃, there was no open fire after acupuncture, and the surface temperature reached 200 ℃ - 400 ℃. According to BYD, the blade battery is safer, and the surface temperature of the battery after acupuncture is only 30 ℃. The excellent thermal stability makes the safety of LFP battery much higher than that of NMC lithium battery.
The cost advantage of LFP battery is also gradually increasing. LFP battery takes lithium iron phosphate as the cathode material. Compared with NMC lithium battery, it does not contain cobalt and other precious elements. The wide and easy availability of raw materials makes the cost of lithium iron phosphate battery much lower than NMC lithium battery.
Hua'an securities estimates that the use cost of lithium iron phosphate is about RMB0.08 / wh, which can save RMB 0.15 to RMB0.21/ wh compared with ternary cathode materials, with a corresponding cost reduction of 65% to 72%. Under the current subsidy policy, the cost can be reduced by RMB4600 to RMB 5600 if the NMC battery with a charging capacity of 55kwh and a endurance of 405km is replaced with LFP battery.
You know, in the current electric vehicle market, the price of pure electric models remains high, and the expensive battery cost is the most important reason. As long as the battery cost can be effectively reduced, it will greatly boost the market sales.
Take BYD as an example: in July this year, BYD sold 56975 passenger cars, a year-on-year increase of 89.4%, of which the sales of new energy vehicles reached a new high of 50057, accounting for 87.95% of the total sales of the month. Some industry experts believe that behind the continuous growth of BYD's sales of new energy models, the successful carrying of blade batteries is indispensable.
In the long run, the tug of war between LFP battery and NMC lithium battery will not be stopped easily. The latest news shows that the magazine battery system of GAC AIAN adopts ternary lithium battery, and its innovative packaging technology greatly reduces the possibility of NMC lithium battery fire. This means that the safety problem that has plagued NMC lithium batteries for a long time is ushering in new solutions.
Based on this, some people in the industry believe that with the rapid growth of the new energy vehicle market, the supporting battery technology is also making rapid progress. Different technical routes compete with each other, and a variety of technical routes may coexist for a long time.
Contact Person: Mr. Kevin Zhang
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