Tesla's LFP (iron) batteries compared. Which one should you buy?

By Henry Farkas

For the first time, you have a choice of battery for your new Tesla. Not battery size, you've always had that choice. Now you have a choice of which chemical elements you want. Here are some thoughts about how you can choose intelligently. It all depends on your financial situation, your plans for long-distance travel, and the geography of your area.

Tesla's Iron and Nickel based batteries

Elon Musk explains Tesla's LFP Battery strategy for US Model 3 SR+.

There's a delay in delivery times for the Model 3 SR+. This is August 2021. Delivery dates are some time in 2022. If you're buying one of the more expensive models or one of the bigger battery sizes, you can take delivery sooner, but the Model 3 SR+ might be the one you want. It's the one I bought. I knew that road trips would take a bit longer with the shorter-range battery since I'd have to pull off the road to charge more often. So far, I haven't had the opportunity to take a multi-day road trip. There's a pandemic after all. But I knew that would eventually become an issue. I really like road trips. But I have to say, even when I took lots of road trips, most of my driving was local.

Had I opted for the long-range Model 3, I'd have paid an extra ten thousand dollars in order to get 90 miles of extra range. That extra ninety miles of range would come into play only 30 or 40 days each year, and the time it would save me would be about an hour each day of a multi-day road trip. It didn't make financial sense.

Now that Tesla is experiencing the same production delays as are all the other auto manufacturers, they're giving their shorter delivery dates to buyers of the more expensive, read higher profit, models. But they're making an exception and giving shorter delivery dates if you buy a Tesla with an LFP battery rather than an NCA battery.

So what's the difference? Both batteries are actually lithium-ion batteries. They both use lithium. So that's not a difference. But the NCA battery uses nickel, cobalt, and aluminum in addition to lithium. The LFP battery uses Iron and Phosphate (phosphorus combined with oxygen) in addition to lithium. The main differences for you to consider are that the LFP battery has a slightly shorter range, 253 miles, as opposed to the NCA battery, 263 miles. But that slight difference in range is deceptive. The NCA battery probably shouldn't be charged to 100%. Fully charging the battery causes damage to the battery making it likely to deteriorate over the years of ownership. It's perfectly fine to charge the LFP battery to 100% so the driver experience is pretty much the same except for a couple caveats.

Iron and Nickel based batteries cost comparison

The LFP battery is heavier. That's why the range is slightly lower on the ordinary battery test cycle. The extra weight causes extra rolling resistance. That's why the range is reduced. There's probably also some extra wear on the tires. The problems of extra weight and extra rolling resistance are probably not all that bothersome for most drivers.

But, if you live in an area where there are lots of hills so that you're changing your elevation every time you drive, you're going to notice a much more pronounced decrease in range with the heavier LFP battery. You can experience the difference more intimately by getting a wagon or a wheelbarrow. Roll it around on level ground. Then put a heavy object in it and roll it around some more. You'll notice a bit more rolling resistance, but you'll be able to deal with the extra rolling resistance easily.

Now do that same experiment on a hill. Pull the wagon or push the wheelbarrow up the hill empty. No problem, right? Then put in the heavy object and go up the hill again. Big difference. Your car feels the same way. You'll get a bit of extra regenerative braking going down the hill with the heavier battery, but it won't be enough to make up the difference. The second law of thermodynamics causes that. That pesky high school physics topic, entropy, strikes again.

LFP batteries are also much more environmentally friendly.

There's also one more issue, cold weather.

LFP batteries charge more slowly in cold weather than NCA batteries and their range decreases somewhat more than NCA batteries in cold weather. Keep in mind that both NCA and LFP do worse in cold weather. It's just that LFP batteries get more of a cold weather effect than NCA batteries. When you're on a road trip and navigating to a Supercharger, your car will prewarm its batteries. That will alleviate the slower charging problem to some extent, but you'll be at the Supercharger six or seven minutes longer in winter with LFP batteries. That will be a problem if you plan to use your car in such a way as to need to do lots of cold weather supercharging. It won't matter at all if you're just going to charge your car overnight in your garage.

So flatlanders will be fine with the LFP battery. If you live in a hilly area, you may want to wait for the NCA-equipped Tesla Model 3 SR+. But remember, the lower range problem is only a problem for people planning to do lots of mountain driving. In that case, you actually ought to invest the extra $10K in the long range Model 3.

One last issue about the LFP battery. Remember, earlier in this article, I mentioned that you shouldn't fill the NCA battery up to 100% charge, but you should fill the LFP battery up to 100%? That's true at home, but it's not true on road trips. On road trips, you want to minimize the amount of time you're stopped. The way to do that is to never charge the battery to 100% no matter which kind of battery you have. When you plug your car in at a modern high voltage supercharger, you'll see your car adding four to five hundred miles per hour of connection. That doesn't mean you'll be up to 100% in a half hour. You won't. As the battery gets charged, the rate of charge drops significantly for both the LFP and the NCA batteries. Once you get above 80%, the battery charges very slowly. So figure out how much charge you need to get you to the next place you're going to charge up and give yourself enough charge to get you there with a twenty or thirty mile cushion. Charging your battery more than that is a waste of time. Your travel time.

Tesla's Battery Day

Henry Farkas is a retired country doctor. He bought his Tesla Model 3 in the middle of the pandemic.

Why Tesla Doesn't Need a Public Relations Department

By Kevin Armstrong
Does Tesla need a PR department?
Does Tesla need a PR department?
Tesla

Tesla is a regular in the news cycle; if it's not about the vehicle, it's about the CEO. It's no secret Tesla stock is down, and investors who are long on the stock have lost a considerable amount over the past month. One of those investors is Gary Black, the Future Fund managing partner, who said in August that Tesla is the fund's largest position. Black is calling on Tesla to hire a public relations department to inform the media and the public of the positives around the brand.

Oddly enough, at the shareholders' event in August, Black said, "the thing we worry about most is not PR; it's succession." Now it seems that is what Black is worried about. He recently tweeted: People can't complain about the media if TSLA refuses to correct articles that are wrong, or worse, won't maintain relationships with TSLA beat reporters and editors so they can get TSLA's POV out when needed. Strong PR will be needed to sell FSD safety. Think long-term.

Black's stance may be understandable to some, especially those who have watched their trading account shrink, but it's implausible because Tesla doesn't need a PR department.

Musk and the Mainstream Media Don't Mix

Musk is currently using his new company to hold mainstream media accountable. In case you missed it, he's releasing the Twitter Files, a detailed report backed up with real emails to show suppression of true stories.

The Tesla CEO also regularly calls out media outlets for false stories, misleading headlines and biased reporting. Musk will not hire a team to try to steer newsrooms, something he has so little respect for, and it's unlikely legacy media outlets will listen.

Media Biased Against Tesla

Bad news generates more views and clicks and keeps the advertisers paying. Even when the news isn't bad, take, for example, a recent Reliability Report by Consumer Reports. Most, if not all, mainstream media declared Tesla as the terrible one, even though Tesla moved up four spots from the previous year. It was hard to find a mention of the manufacturers that scored less. Those included Chevrolet, GMC, Volkswagen, Jeep, and Mercedes Benz. Yes, the expensive luxury brand was dead last in reliability. That is a story.

Reporters also picked up that electric vehicles scored low for reliability. Consumer Reports said it was because EVs are new on the market. However, scoring even lower were full-sized pickups. Those have been on the market for quite a bit longer.

Tesla, which also has not spent a dime on advertising, disbanded its public relations department in 2020. That's unheard of by a company its size, especially in the automotive sector. However, Tesla and Elon have something much better — you are reading it right now. Not a Tesla App is one of several blog sites that publish news about Tesla daily. Many of these websites have writers who own Teslas. The stories are much more accurate, positive and just plain better than anything readers will find in the mainstream. Who says bias must be negative?

Word of Mouth Advertising

Now add hundreds, maybe even thousands of loyal enthusiasts who defend and promote Tesla on social media platforms. Next, throw into the mix the hundreds of thousands of Tesla owners who quite often are spokespeople for the company whenever they get out of the car. I've been sure to add 10 minutes of travel time to my drives because I'm likely to get asked some questions at the grocery store or car wash.

This kind of advertising money cannot buy, and it's the kind of positive publicity media will not share. So while Black's concerns are legitimate, a PR department is not the solution. Instead, Tesla needs to keep doing what it's been doing and let the product, its fans and the Tesla-inspired websites do the rest.

More About Tesla’s WiFi Garage Door Support, Its Cost and Features

By Nuno Cristovao
How MyQ will be integrated in Tesla vehicles
How MyQ will be integrated in Tesla vehicles
MyQ

Tesla is getting ready to introduce WiFi garage door support to their vehicles through MyQ.

Since our article yesterday additional details have emerged about how MyQ will operate, which vehicles will be supported and whether there will be a cost to use the service. This information is based on a page that appeared briefly on MyQ's website but has since been removed.

Vehicles Supported

MyQ's website stated that support for their garage door openers would be coming to the Model 3 and Model Y. While this makes a lot of sense because those vehicles don't include a HomeLink module, we'd be surprised if Tesla didn't also add support for the Model S and Model X.

Cost

Let's get cost out of the way. Although MyQ does not charge a fee today to remotely open and close their garage doors, they do plan on charging a fee to use their devices in vehicles. This could be looked at similarly to how some services are free to use on a PC but require a subscription to use on your mobile phone.

The price posted on MyQ's website was a five-year plan for $179, which is still cheaper than Tesla's $350 installation cost for HomeLink.

Unfortunately, this removes a big benefit we thought MyQ would have over buying a HomeLink module for the Model 3 or Model Y. For Model S and Model X owners who already have HomeLink included in their vehicles, it may not make as much sense.

However, MyQ does provide some advantages over HomeLink.

Integration

The good news is that MyQ integration will be very similar to HomeLink, and better in some ways. What appears to be a rendering of the feature working in a Tesla was also posted to their website which shows off a screen very similar to HomeLink.

On the MyQ settings screen, you'll have a list of supported devices on the left side, such as garage doors, gates and possibly lights, but we haven't see any evidence of the latter yet.

On the right side, you'll see options pertaining to the device selected, such as its current state, whether the garage door should auto-open or close and the distance when the device should be triggered.

You'll also be able to have the vehicle fold in its mirrors when reaching the target location.

If you've used HomeLink, this should all look very familiar since it's almost exactly the same. However, there are a couple of differences that give the advantage to MyQ.

The first is that MyQ is a smarter system and it knows the state of your garage door. So if you're arriving home and the garage door is already open, it won't try to close it on you.

The other advantage is distance. Since MyQ works over the internet you'll be able to trigger the garage door or gate from further down the driveway, giving the door plenty of time to fully open before you arrive.

MyQ supports an array of devices, but it waits to be seen whether there will be support for these additional devices such as lights and door locks.

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Although we share official Tesla release notes, we are not affiliated with Tesla Motors. We are Tesla fans and supporters.

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Upcoming Release

View the release notes for the upcoming version 2022.44.2.

Confirmed by Elon

Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.

Subscribe

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