Tesla continues to face challenges with the 4680 battery production ramp-up, as scaling is the biggest challenge for every manufacturer. However, the overall production of new cells should exceed 1,000 battery packs per week by the end of the year, the company said.
Bringing a new product to market has always been a challenge. The main problem is that the use of new technologies, processes, materials and production setup cannot go smoothly, as this is a completely new experience and knowledge is formed only on the way to achieving the goal. By introducing the 4680 battery cell in 2020, Tesla hoped to be able to implement its vision in the shortest possible time, but scaling production took some time. The company is still facing challenges in the process of setting up battery production facilities at Giga Berlin and Giga Texas, but is gradually resolving them as they approach completion.
During the Q2 2022 Earnings Call, Elon Musk made a few clarifications that explain the current situation:
“Our focus right now is on the dozens of little issues that inhibit the production ramp of the 4680. Some of the more challenging ones have been feeding the anode-cathode material because we're using this revolutionary dry electrode process. But when something is revolutionary, it's a lot of unknowns that have to be resolved. So we're confident of resolving those unknowns but it's very difficult. It's – yes, we're making rapid progress on that point. So the first order of business is really get the basics right, get to high volume and high reliability and then very rapidly iterate within that to enhance the energy density and reduce the cost of the cell.”
At the moment, Tesla mainly uses 2170 battery cells to manufacture its vehicles. According to the company, they should be enough for the planned volume of car production in 2022 without any problems. But already in 2023, 4680 cells will come into play. SVP, Powertrain and Energy Engineering at Tesla, Drew Baglino, said the manufacturer should reach 1,000 battery packs per week by the end of this year, though he hopes that will be well before the end of the year.
“So we are making progress on 4680. But right now, as Elon mentioned, we are leveraging supplier cells, which we have in sufficient quantity to ramp Texas and Berlin. We expect to ramp total 4680 production to exceed 1,000 per week by the end of the year, hopefully before - well before.”
Baglino also said that the production line at Kato, in Fremont, California, continues to ramp up production and has seen output rise by about 35% month-on-month since March. In addition, yields across the factory have already reached targets in most areas. In order to achieve a positive result, the company has made some changes to the design of the cell to ensure higher performance and ease of manufacture. In addition, the product lines have been further integrated and additional content has been added. Due to these changes, Giga Texas and Giga Berlin need to overcome some new ramp issues before mass production can begin.
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