Although the chemistry may be similar, CATL has said the M3P batteries vary from Lithium Manganese Iron Phosphate (LMFP) cells.
Earlier this month, rumors began to surface about CATL’s “M3P” batteries, which were briefly mentioned by the battery company in February amongst other upcoming technologies like sodium-ion batteries.
A source close to CATL’s investor relations team revealed a day later that the company is fact developing its M3P batteries, but their chemistry is different from that of an LMFP battery.
CATL chief scientist Wu Kai said the M3P batteries have already reached volume production and will hit the market in 2023. CATL chairman Robin Zeng also briefly mentioned the M3P batteries for the first time since February but offered no additional details.
What we’ve learned from investigative reports in China following the misreported news of the M3P batteries containing LMFP chemistry is that the former are similar, but not quite. CATL says the M3P cells also contain other metallic elements not present in LMFPs.
Instead, the company prefers to refer to the upcoming technology as a “ternary lithium battery of the phosphate chemistry system,” according to a report from Gasgoo. Regardless of what makes up the M3P batteries, they are promised to deliver greater energy density than lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, but at cost parity with ternary-lithium cells.
We don’t yet know what that official density will be, but for comparison, LMFP batteries have a theoretical energy density that’s 15-20% percent higher than LFP batteries, but at a similar price point.
In other words, the main advantage will be that the M3P batteries will be cheaper which makes them good for EVs.