In a conventional Li-ion battery, the anode is typically made of graphite, and the cathode is a Li-metal oxide. The key to high capacity & superior power delivery lies primarily in the cathode, which has characterized the Li-ion batteries.
LFP & Ternary batteries
High commodity costs are spurring automakers to adjust their battery strategies and switch to cheaper battery compositions. One such avenue is to substitute cobalt with nickel, as shown in Figure 1. Lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries accounted for 19 GWh or 68.5% of the total installed base in Mar/2023 in China (8.7 GWh or 31.4% of ternary batteries), up 44.4% YoY (up 25.3% YoY of ternary ones) [CN, 2023].
Both LiFePO4 battery and Ternary lithium battery have their advantages. If you need a battery with high safety, the best choice is Lithium Iron Phosphate. If you want to use the battery at low temperatures, you can go for Ternary Li-batteries [PL, 2023].
Li2CO3 & LiOH
Lithium, specifically in lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) & lithium hydroxide (LiOH) compounds, is a crucial ingredient in EV batteries and other applications. Figure 2 shows the Lithium sources, compounds, and primary applications (battery highlighted).
The U.S. and European efforts to build domestic supply chains won’t eliminate dependence on China, at least in the short- & medium-term. Figure 3 shows China battery manufacturing capacity. Thing is, the "battery factor", i.e., higher battery costs, could delay the tipping point for EVs, as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 1: Battery compositions
Figure 2: Li-compounds applications
Figure 3: China manufacturing capacity
Figure 4: Tipping point for EVs