In the fall of 2020, Tesla introduced the 4680 battery cells developed jointly with Panasonic, which promised to reduce the cost of charge storage and increase specific capacity simply because of layout changes. More than a million of these battery cells have already been produced on Tesla’s test line in California.
In overcoming a symbolic milestone in January this year, the company reported on his Twitter page just this week. It is known that the production of such batteries will eventually be deployed not only at a company in Texas, but also near Berlin, and the Model Y crossovers equipped with them will roll off both assembly lines later this year. Development batches of machines have already been spotted in the parking lot near the Austin plant next to the company’s new headquarters.
Despite the status of a pilot line, the California site is capable of producing batteries with a total capacity of up to 10 GWh, but the main volumes will continue to be provided by companies in Austin and Berlin over time. Tesla representatives made it clear in the quarterly reporting that this year the production volume of 4680 batteries will not be a limiting factor and the shortage of semiconductor components will have a much greater impact on the expansion rate of electric vehicle production.
Panasonic also expects to start mass-producing 4680 batteries next year, but Tesla isn’t the only one to supply them. Similar battery cells are ready to be mastered in production by the Korean LG Energy Solution, but Samsung SDI has developed its own analogue with slightly different characteristics. By distributing elements of the 4680 type, in the future Tesla will not only master the mass production of semi-trucks, but also create the necessary economic conditions for the production of affordable electric vehicles worth $ 25,000 or more.
Hitting the milestone of 1 million 4680 cells produced doesn’t really do much for the rapid market entry of EVs equipped with it, as up to 1000 cells are consumed on average per car. Accordingly, the available inventory is sufficient to produce about 1,000 Tesla Model Y crossovers, so the main breakthrough in this direction will only be seen after the start of battery production in Texas and Berlin. Panasonic will supply its batteries of this type for Tesla from factories in Japan and Nevada, while LG Energy Solution wants to localize production in the US and Europe.