The electric Renault 5 E-Tech could be sold less expensively with an LFP battery

LFP (lithium-iron-phosphate) battery technology has several advantages over traditional NMC (nickel-manganese-cobalt) type lithium-ion cells, starting with lower production costs. In 2023, LFP cells cost on average 32% less to produce than NMC cells, for the same amount of energy (source: BloombergNEF).

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But, because there is a but, LFP batteries have a lower energy density than NMCs. For the same capacity, LFP batteries are therefore larger and heavier. This is why we often find them on entry-level “small battery” versions, whose energy density does not need to be as high.

In 2021, Renault would have looked into using LFP cells for its electric R5, but their very low energy density pushed the manufacturer to use NMC batteries. [La technologie] LFP poses a problem in small cars around 3.95 m long and it is difficult to fit 50 kWh into such a car; more space is needed, that’s why we stick to NMC technology”explained in 2021 Gilles Le Borgne, director of engineering for the Renault group, at Telegraph.

Even with its entry-level battery, the Renault 5 E-Tech presented at the start of 2024 uses NMC cells. However, it is this version that would be best suited to receiving an LFP battery. Its “only” 40 kWh of useful capacity can be achieved with the lower energy density of this technology. Like that of NMC batteries, the energy density of LFP batteries has made significant progress in recent years. Not much larger than the R5, the Citroën ë-C3 uses LFP batteries for 44 kWh of total capacity (its useful capacity is therefore slightly lower).

LFP batteries for the R5 from the end of 2025?

But Renault could finally adopt LFP technology. So, according to The echoes, “the French manufacturer is preparing to announce one or more important contracts to complete its offer with less powerful but less expensive batteries”. It would be a question of LFP batteries supplied by Korean producers, while the NMC cells of the R5 are signed Envision AESC. Renault’s Sino-Japanese partner will produce the NMC batteries for the R5 in France, in Douai, from 2025.

If this information is confirmed, Renault could receive its first LFP batteries at the end of 2025, according to The echoes. It remains to be seen whether the manufacturer will choose to replace the NMC battery of its entry-level R5, which has a range of 300 km. It is hard to imagine Renault launching a version with a smaller battery, which would be penalized by its range. Using LFP batteries could, however, lower the entry-level price of the R5, promised at around €25,000 at its launch this year, with NMC cells therefore. Other electric models in the range could also benefit from this battery technology.

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