Nickel-Cobalt vs. Lithium-Ion Batteries Compared: Pros, Cons, and Differences

Lithium-ion batteries with nickel-cobalt cathodes are most common today. However, cost and safety concerns are making lithium-iron-phosphate batteries, or iron-phosphate batteries for short, more attractive. Here’s what you need to know about the pros and cons of these two main vectors of EV battery development.

Nickel-Cobalt (NMC, etc.)

Charging Speed: Faster Range: Longer Price: Expensive Risk of Fire: Higher fire risk Thermal Runaway: 410° F Maximum Safe Charge: 80% Longevity: 1,500-2,000 cycles

Iron-Phosphate (LFP)

Charging Speed: Slower Range: Shorter Price: Cheaper Risk of Fire: Lower fire risk Thermal Runaway: 518° F Maximum Safe Charge: 100% Longevity: 2,000+ cycles

Nickel-Cobalt vs. Iron-Phosphate: Must-Know Facts

– Both nickel-cobalt and iron-phosphate lithium-ion batteries work on the same principle but use different cathode materials. – Nickel-cobalt was preferred for years because it provides a long-range, which is a desirable EV trait.

What is a Nickel-Cobalt Battery?

Cobalt’s high energy density enables building batteries easily capable of long ranges and lightning-fast charging. It also helps reduce weight, since EVs already typically weigh thousands of pounds more than their ICE counterparts.

What is an Iron-Phosphate Battery?

Iron-phosphate, or LFP, batteries use a lithium iron phosphate cathode to perform the same basic lithium-ion “see-saw” used to release or recharge energy..

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