After disappearing from Tesla’s configurator for nine months, the Model 3 Long Range makes a return in the US with a few caveats. First, its range is now 325 miles instead of 358 miles and it qualifies for half of the tax credit, just like the Standard Range model. And there’s a perfectly sound explanation for this.
Since the range has gone down, it’s safe to assume that the LR trim in the US is now using a different battery. And since the car qualifies for half of the federal tax credit (like the Standard Range), the battery could very well be CATL’s LFP, which stands for Lithium-iron-phosphate.
The LFP packs are used in the Chinese-made Model 3s and are cheaper to produce and offer superior longevity to the standard batteries. They also reduce the use of cobalt. However, LFP batteries also have less energy density and perform worse in cold weather conditions.
And since the US government updated the tax credit rules, in which the car is required to be assembled in North America with at least 40% of its critical minerals from the US or free-trade countries, while the battery should be 50% sourced in North America, the Standard and Long Range Model 3 no longer apply for the full credit of $7,500. They comply only with the first rule since the batteries are sourced from China and get $3,750 tax credit.
Interestingly enough, Tesla recommends buying the Long Range and Performance models if you live in a very cold area, which suggests the LFP pack on the Long Range may not be a standard LFP, but CATL’s brand new LFMP cells. They are a more energy-dense version of the LFP with improved cold-weather performance.
Unfortunately, there’s still no official statement on Tesla’s behalf.