Ford Motor Company has become the first automaker to state that it will manufacture both NMC (nickel manganese cobalt) and LFP (lithium iron phosphate) batteries for electric vehicles in the USA.
Ford manufactures both NMC and LFP batteries for EVs
The Michigan USA based automaker will invest a full $3.5 billion into a new LFP battery factory commencing production in 2026 at “BlueOval Battery Park Michigan. The battery factory will have an installed capacity of about 35 GWh. This will produce enough batteries for 400,000 Ford electric cars, SUVs, and trucks.
Adding LFP batteries to its EV line-up will add more choices for Ford customers. Ford customers will be able to choose an EV with unique battery performance characteristics. These performance characteristics will be most aligned with the needs of customers. The company will offer LFP as the second battery chemistry choice in addition to Nickel Cobalt Manganese (NCM).
Ford Mustang Mach-E (Some versions) will start using LFP batteries in 2023 itself. The Ford F-150 Lightning will also start using LFP batteries in 2024.
Ford is the first automaker to commit to building both NCM and LFP batteries in the United States. Ford has aimed to reach an annual production run rate of 600,000 by the end of 2023. Ford plans to keep growing beyond 2023 and has an ambitious target to reach a production rate of 2 million by the end of 2026.
Lithium Iron Phosphate v/s Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide batteries –
LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate) and NMC (Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide) are the two most common types of Li batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs).
LFP batteries are known for their safety, longevity, and low cost. They are less prone to overheating or catching fire. LFP batteries can be charged and discharged more times without degrading as quickly. They are also made from relatively low-cost materials, which helps keep the costs low.
While NMC batteries are known for higher energy density, they can store more energy in the same space as compared to LFP batteries. NMC batteries are ideal for usages where space and weight are critical factors. yes, are talking about electric vehicles. NMC batteries can deliver more power during acceleration or climbing a hill.
Comparison of LFP and NMC EV batteries –
- Chemistry- LFP batteries use a lithium iron phosphate cathode, while NMC batteries use a lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide cathode. Both use a graphite anode.
- Safety- LFP batteries are safe due to their higher thermal stability and lower thermal runaway, the risk of overheating and catching fire is more in NMC batteries.
- Energy Density- NMC batteries have a better energy density than LFP batteries. Good for applications like EVs where weight and space are critical.
- Cycle Life- NMC batteries have a shorter life than LFP batteries, LFP batteries can be charged and discharged more times.
- Cost- NMC batteries are costlier than LFP batteries.
- Environmental Impact- LFP batteries are more ecology friendly than NMC batteries. As cobalt is often mined under questionable labor and environmental conditions.
- Applications -LFP batteries are mostly used in electric buses, delivery trucks, and other heavy-duty vehicles as they are safe, have a long life, and are low cost. On the other hand, NMC batteries find their common application in passenger EVs, here higher energy and power density are important for good range and faster acceleration. Many of the leading EV manufacturers use NMC batteries in their performance EVs.
However, the choice is constantly changing as battery and battery management technology improves and new materials are developed. The choice is dependent on customer requirements.