Because of the use cobalt-free LFP battery cells from CATL?

Tesla has just lowered prices of its Made-in-China (MIC) Tesla Model 3. The entry-level Standard Range Plus version is now 8% cheaper (after subsidies), while the Long Range RWD version is 10% cheaper.

The Standard Range Plus is now available from 249,900 yuan ($36,803), including a subsidy of 19,800 yuan ($2,916), compared to 271,550 yuan previously.

The Long Range RWD version is now available from 309,900 yuan ($45,639), compared to 344,050 yuan previously. There is no subsidy for this version as its price is still above 300,000 yuan.

Currently, the prices for the two MIC versions are as follow:

* after including a subsidy of 19,800 yuan ($2,916)

The price of the Performance version was not changed as it's scheduled for Q1 2021 and will not be eligible for subsidies.

  • Performance, Long Range AWD (MIC): *419,800 yuan ($61,823)
    NEDC range of 600+ km (373+ miles)
    top speed of 261 km/h (162. mph)
    acceleration 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.4 seconds
    deliveries from Q1 2021

Gallery: Tesla Model 3 (design studio China)

LFP batteries?

There is no official statement (no one is probably surprised about that), but media speculates that the most recent price decrease is related to the switch from LG Chem's NMC lithium-ion cells to CATL's cobalt-free LFP lithium-ion cells.

"Sources told Reuters that the standard range Model 3 sedans would now come with lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries which are cheaper than the nickel-cobalt-manganese (NMC) cells it used previously."

It sounds reasonable that the entry-level Standard Range Plus version with LFP would be more affordable, but how to explain the price cut of the Long Range RWD version then?

It's doubtful that Tesla would switch both cars to LFP, as LG Chem would then be left (temporarily) without its biggest customer in China. So maybe it's just a general price reduction.

The use of LFP cells in the SR+ version would be in line with specs submitted to MIIT, according to Moneyball: