Lithium iron phosphate batteries have become popular on the new energy track due to their low price and high safety. Global battery companies have accelerated their deployment in this field.
1. What is lithium iron phosphate battery
Lithium iron phosphate battery is a kind of lithium battery. The cathode material uses lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4), and the anode material uses carbon. Compared with ternary lithium batteries, LiFePO4 battery raw material supply is more stable and its cost advantage is stronger.
Lithium iron phosphate batteries are favored by many car companies such as Tesla, BYD, Volkswagen, Tesla, Ford, and Toyota because of their advantages such as strong stability, long cycle life, good safety performance, and low cost.
According to 2020 data, lithium iron phosphate batteries accounted for 22% of pure electric vehicle power batteries. According to industry forecasts, by 2025, lithium iron phosphate batteries will account for 36%.
2. The difference between lithium iron phosphate battery and ternary lithium battery
Under normal circumstances, the service life of the ternary lithium battery is 2000 charge and discharge cycles, while the lithium iron phosphate battery can support more than 3000 charge and discharge cycles. That is to say, under the condition of similar charge and discharge times, the capacity fading of lithium iron phosphate battery will be less and more durable.
Low temperature discharge performance is different
The lower limit of the operating temperature of the ternary lithium battery is minus 30 degrees Celsius, and that of lithium iron phosphate is minus 20 degrees Celsius. If both batteries are in an environment of minus 10 degrees, the capacity attenuation of the lithium iron phosphate battery will be more obvious, which will greatly reduce the cruising range.
Battery energy density
The energy density is different. The energy density of lithium iron phosphate battery is up to 180Wh/kg, and due to the current technical bottleneck, the energy density of this type of battery has been difficult to break through. On the other hand, the energy density of ternary lithium batteries can reach up to 250Wh/kg, and with continuous research, this figure is expected to continue to break through.
Different battery safety
The raw materials of lithium iron phosphate batteries have stable chemical properties, and the positive electrode material itself has a very high melting point. Generally, thermal time and space will only appear when the battery is as large as 800 degrees Celsius. However, it is difficult for the battery to reach such a high temperature regardless of whether it is subjected to collision needles or extrusion.
The ternary battery is unstable due to the chemical properties of its raw materials. Therefore, when the battery temperature rises to 250 degrees Celsius, the internal electrolyte will undergo a violent chemical reaction, accompanied by thermal runaway phenomena such as smoke, fire and spontaneous combustion, and the safety is relatively poor.
Manufacturing cost is different
Lithium iron phosphate, the cathode material of lithium iron phosphate batteries, has a very mature synthesis process, and the price of the former raw materials is also very low, so the manufacturing cost is relatively low. The ternary lithium battery uses the rare metal cobalt, so its cost remains high.
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The cost of lithium iron phosphate battery is 0.65 RMB per watt-hour, and the cost of ternary lithium battery is 0.85 RMB per watt-hour. Taking an 80 kWh power battery as an example, the cost of lithium iron phosphate and ternary lithium battery is 52,000 and 68,000 respectively.
It can be seen from the above that compared with lithium iron phosphate batteries, lithium iron phosphate batteries are safer, and have more advantages in service life, safety and manufacturing costs. The ternary lithium battery has higher energy density and better low-temperature discharge performance. As for which one to choose, it depends on your needs.
3. Global companies focus on lithium iron phosphate batteries
In the past decade, Chinese companies have greatly promoted the development of battery technology, vigorously promoting lithium iron phosphate batteries, rather than the more popular nickel-cobalt-manganese ternary batteries in the West. From a global perspective, China's lithium iron phosphate battery technology is leading.
The ability of lithium iron phosphate batteries to go so far and gradually be recognized by global car companies and energy storage customers depends entirely on the innovation of Chinese battery companies, which also makes Chinese battery companies become world-class companies.
In terms of output, lithium iron phosphate batteries are also very strong. In February this year, China's power battery production totaled 41.5GWh, of which lithium iron phosphate battery production accounted for 64.7% of the total output, reaching 26.8GWh, a year-on-year increase of 33.7%.
Chinese battery companies such as CATL, Envision AESC, GOTION HIGH-TECH, etc. have expanded their production capacity for lithium iron phosphate batteries in order to consolidate their advantages in technology and production capacity while competing for the global market.
Thanks to the performance of Chinese battery companies, China dominates the global production of lithium iron phosphate batteries. It is expected to account for 99.5% of the global supply this year. In the 2030 vision plan, China's lithium iron phosphate battery production capacity will account for 97% of the global planned production capacity. Lithium iron phosphate battery has not only become the favorite in China, but also more and more popular in the world.
South Korea's Samsung SDI, LG Chem, and SK On batteries in top 10 lithium battery companies in the world have increased their lithium iron phosphate batteries. Among other businesses, Ford Motor will invest $3.5 billion to build a lithium iron phosphate battery plant in Marshall, Michigan. In the European direction, Stellantis plans to launch electric vehicles equipped with lithium iron phosphate batteries to reduce their cost of use.