Tesla's new 4680 battery accumulated production of one million battery cells last week. This battery will be a key part in Tesla’s efforts to improve battery life and reduce costs but, in fact, one million battery cells is a drop in the bucket.
There are two major bottlenecks in the popularization of electric vehicles that need to be surmounted. One is cost and the other is battery life. Tesla's new battery 4680 can meet these two goals at the same time. It can be said to be the most critical growth variable for Tesla in the next three years.
Just last weekend, Tesla’s California plant held a celebration to commemorate the cumulative mass production of one million 4680 battery cells, which sounds like a lot, but it is not.
The 4680 battery, like other lithium-ion batteries, is named after its size. This battery cell has a diameter of 46 mm and a height of 80 mm, which is much larger than the 2170 battery currently used by Tesla. Tesla estimates that total energy can be increased by a multiple of 5 and battery life by more than 16%. Tesla's second-generation product lines, such as the Roadster 2, Cybertruck, and Tesla Semi, must all rely on new battery designs to achieve their claimed price and range.
▲ Tesla 4680 Battery
However, at this stage, the first vehicles with 4680 batteries will be Model Ys. Assuming that Tesla does not change the total battery capacity of the Model Y, a Model Y that originally needs to use 4,416 2170 battery cells will only need approximately 1,000 4680 batteries, significantly reducing cost.
However, after calculation, the one million 4680 battery cells currently produced are actually only enough for 1,000 Model Y vehicles and Tesla produced nearly 300,000 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles in California last year alone. According to previous video from Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory, a Chinese-made Model Y can be completed in only 45 seconds.
Further calculations indicate Tesla is expected to produce 1 million Model Ys in 2022 when all four factories are fully surging production capacity. If all new batteries are to be replaced, 1 billion 4680 battery cells will be required. Now you know why these million battery cells are simply insignificant.
Of course, this is only part of Tesla's self-produced batteries in California. Currently, Panasonic, LG Chem, and the king of batteries, Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL), are all participating in the production test of the 4680 and two factories in Texas and Berlin also have battery production lines. Tesla is moving step by step towards 100 GWh capacity.
Not long ago, Elon Musk announced that delivery of two new cars, Roadster 2 and Cybertruck, which must rely on 4680 batteries to be produced, will be delayed until 2023. The 4680 batteries currently produced in small quantities will be given priority to Model Y and Semi-trucks long-awaited by certain large companies.