Tesla has successfully tested the performance and lifetime of its new 4680 battery cells at its factory in Kato, Fremont, California. The company is nearing the completion of validation and is focused on improving production processes to begin mass production, which could reach 100GWh per year by the end of 2022.
Tesla's 4680 battery cells are one of the most interesting topics, as this development should significantly change the position of electric vehicles in the global car market. In its Q2 2021 earnings report, the company announced that it has made significant progress, although there is still considerable work to be done before mass production is achieved.
Tesla has brought a significant amount of innovation to the 4680 battery cell compared to what the company shares at Battery Day in September 2020. It wasn't just a minor improvement on state-of-the-art, said CEO Elon Musk, although he did not disclose any specific details.
SVP, Powertrain and Energy Engineering at Tesla Andrew Baglino said the company is actually accruing over one million equivalent miles on new cells that Tesla produces every month. The goal of the manufacturer is to obtain high-quality cells for all of its customers. He also shared that Tesla is now just focused on the unlucky limiting steps in the production facility and going to break through as quickly as possible.
The bottom line is that the company ran into difficulties when it tried to scale production. Musk explained:
"Right now, we have a challenge with basically what's called calendaring, or basically squashing the cathode, with material to a particular height. So it just goes through these rollers and gets squashed like pizza dough, basically. And - but very hard pizza dough. And then - it's causing - it's denting the calendar rolls. This is not something that happened when the calendar rolls were smaller, but it is happening when the calendar rolls are bigger. So it's just like - we were like, okay, we weren't expecting that."
Musk said that Tesla has already ordered and continues to receive a huge amount of equipment for large-scale production of cells in Austin and Berlin. But given what the company learned at the Fremont pilot plant, they will have to modify it. Thus, Tesla will not be able to start immediately producing 4680 cells. Despite the unforeseen circumstances, Musk and Baglino hope to achieve strong performance next year, producing from 50 GWh to 100 GWh per year of battery cells by the end of next year.
© 2021, Eva Fox. All rights reserved.
We appreciate your readership! Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.