Rivian changing battery cells to LFP, following Tesla, and high-nickel

R.J. Scaringe, Rivian’s CEO, introduces the world to his company’s R1T all-electric pickup and all-electric powered R1S SUV at the Los Angeles Auto Present in Los Angeles, California, November 27, 2018.

Mike Blake | Reuters

Electric powered automobile maker Rivian designs to use new forms of battery cells in its electrical vehicles, supply vans and SUVs the organization reported Thursday in a 2021 fourth-quarter shareholder letter. These contain cells built with lithium iron phosphate (LFP) chemistry for its common-amount automobiles, and higher-nickel chemistry for its for a longer period-assortment vehicles.

LFP battery cells do not involve any nickel or cobalt, which can be expensive or challenging to acquire. They are also frequently viewed as additional secure, but significantly less electrical power-dense, than nickel cobalt aluminum oxide cells, which experienced been utilised by Tesla and other automakers in electric cars. Even though they can be thoroughly discharged and charged without the need of as much destruction to the mobile in excess of time, LFP batteries do not frequently provide the similar vary as NCA and other kinds.

Significant-nickel chemistry batteries, meanwhile, are far more power dense, can be billed more speedily and provide much more miles for every demand for a pack of the same or a lot less fat designed with these cells.

Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe defined on an earnings call right after several hours on Thursday that the enterprise and its suppliers are struggling with a variety of constraints owing to the Covid pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and their impacts on world-wide source chains. He stated Rivian was “seeking at one particular of the most difficult provide chain environments the automotive industry experienced at any time noticed.”

Scaringe reported that the first LFP cell is becoming sourced as a result of a partner, which he did not identify, but reported that the business is “also acquiring in-residence battery chemistries and battery creation abilities.”

Rivian Commercial Motor vehicles, these as the EDV-700 it developed for Amazon, should really have “similar every day range capabilities with LFP chemistry, and this chemistry supplies significant expense price savings for us,” Rivian wrote in its shareholder letter.

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In its buyer electrical vehicles, which include the R1T pickup and R1S SUV, Rivian expects an approximated selection of around 260 miles with the LFP-primarily based conventional battery pack.

Tesla announced options to change to LFP battery cells for its normal battery packs in Oct 2021, and both equally firms are subsequent in the footsteps of Chinese electric car or truck and battery brands. The engineering has been commonly promoted in China, and as battery researchers Roskill have observed, all around 95% of LFP cathode manufacturing is centered in China. Eliminating cobalt suggests cutting down reliance on suppliers where forced labor is even now a problem. Cobalt extraction is however largely concentrated in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where by it is joined to human legal rights abuses and child labor.

Rivian is aiming to make 25,000 battery electrical vehicles in 2022 and aims to supply its 55,000th car inside 2023.

The firm’s shares dropped a lot more than 12% soon after several hours on Thursday following the firm missed Wall Street’s fourth-quarter earnings expectations and forecast a modest boost in car or truck output for 2022.