Chinese media outlet LatePost reported on July 12 that lithium manganese iron phosphate batteries from Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Ltd. (CATL), Sunwoda and EVE Energy Co., Ltd. have passed pilot scale tests in the first half of this year, and that samples were being sent to car companies for testing.
FinDreams Battery, a subsidiary of BYD, began to purchase materials for making lithium ferromanganese phosphate batteries in small batches at the beginning of this year. The new product is currently under an internal R&D stage. BYD said that no public information is available at present.
The report also mentioned that CATL plans to mass-produce lithium manganese iron phosphate batteries in the second half of this year. Additionally, Gotion Hi-Tech announced a patent related to the new batteries in June this year. At present, Gotion’s new battery is still in the technical reserve stage, so there is no clear plan for mass production.
Companies invest funds in making lithium ferromanganese phosphate batteries because they can have higher energy density than ferrous lithium phosphate batteries, which is the key index to determine vehicles’ range.
Ferrous lithium phosphate batteries were initially the mainstream product. BYD, which has operated within the field of power batteries since 2006, is highly adept at manufacturing this product. Before 2017, BYD had always been the largest power battery manufacturer in China.
In 2017, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology adjusted its new energy subsidy policy: the higher the cruising range, the more subsidies. This policy increases the share of ternary lithium batteries with higher energy density and longer range. CATL then surpassed BYD to become the first in China since 2017 owing to its investment in this type of battery.
However, due to technology iteration, the cruising range of ferrous lithium phosphate batteries has gradually improved. With their cost advantage, they overtook ternary lithium batteries again in 2021, with a market share of 51.2% in China compared to 38.3% in 2020.
The optimization of ferrous lithium phosphate batteries still focuses on cruising range. The theoretical energy density of the new batteries can reach 230Wh/Kg – 15%-20% higher than previous versions. There is almost no difference in material cost between the two batteries. In addition to new energy vehicles, this technology can also be applied to the field of energy storage.