Tesla first showed the new structural battery pack during the launch party at Giga Berlin. Mass production of 4680 cells will begin there in late 2022, according to Elon Musk.
Tesla has invited local residents who support the manufacturer's coming to the region for Giga Fest at Giga Berlin on October 9. During a tour of the factory, the company revealed many interesting details and showed interesting things that will be in the Model Y produced there. Among other things, Tesla showed a structural battery pack with 4680 cells.
The structure of a car is a critical component of its efficiency and performance. This is why Tesla is deeply focused on continuing to enhance its vehicles' structure. During Battery Day in 2020, the company announced that it will improve the design of its vehicles using a new battery architecture—utilizing a truly radical approach to manufacturing car parts.
With the new battery form factor, Tesla is able to minimize negative mass, thus increasing the density of the battery pack. The battery is then able to be positioned more efficiently, further reducing redundant structures within the packaging itself. The car's chassis, with two one-piece molded parts for the front and rear, allows the battery to be placed in the middle. As a result, this greatly simplifies production.
Also, because the battery can be located in the center of the car, its safety is increased. Now Tesla's cars can be even more protected from side impact. In addition, a centrally located battery enhances driving performance, namely agility. These improvements also result in a 10% weight reduction, a 14% increase in range, a significant reduction in the number of parts, and the overall increased structural integrity of the vehicle.
The 4680 battery cells are a highly anticipated Tesla product as they should significantly reduce production costs, which is critical for the wider adoption of electric vehicles. The company has brought a significant amount of innovation to the 4680 battery cell compared to what it shared at Battery Day in September 2020. It wasn't just a minor improvement on state-of-the-art, said Musk during the Q2 2021 Earnings Call in July.
However, at the moment the company is faced with the problem of scalability of production, which is delaying the new cells’ appearance in large numbers. In July, 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 make some modifications. Thus, Tesla will not immediately be able to start producing 4680 cells. Despite the unforeseen circumstances, Musk hopes to achieve strong performance next year, producing from 50 GWh to 100 GWh per year of battery cells by the end of the year. At an event in Giga Berlin, he also confirmed that the cell production at the factory will reach full capacity by the end of 2022.
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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.