Panasonic Battery VP Says 4680 Cells Necessary To Build Tesla’s $25,000 Car
Tesla, on the company’s battery day event, among other things unveiled a new battery cell with several breakthroughs. Elon Musk speaking at the event emphasized the importance of the new battery for Tesla to achieve its future goals.
Of those goals, the major one is by 2030 Tesla plans to build 20 million vehicles a year. Last year Tesla delivered 500,000 vehicles so 20 million vehicles a year means Tesla plans to increase the company’s production capacity 40 folds. ARK Invest believes Tesla could reach 5 to 10 million vehicles a year by 2025.
And at the center of meeting this lofty goal is the new 4680 battery. Currently, Tesla vehicles are powered with the company’s 2170 cells which it developed in partnership with its battery supplier Panasonic.
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Among battery analysts who have done a tare down of the 2170 cells, Tesla’s current batteries are already thought to be the highest energy and the cheapest to produces when compared to any battery in a mass-market vehicle.
This has propelled Tesla to the number one EV maker spot in the world. However, Musk wants to take Tesla even further.
Currently, the cheapest Tesla for sale is the Standard Range Plus Model 3 which starts at $37,500. And Elon in order to convert the worldwide fleet of almost 2 billion vehicles to BEVs believes Tesla should significantly increase its sales. And to do that also means Tesla should lower the entry price to its vehicles.
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At the battery day event, Tesla said the new 4680 cells are 54% more energy-dense and 56 percent cheaper to produce. And since the battery pack is the most expensive component of an EV this will go a long way to decreasing the cost of the vehicles.
Panasonic employee Akira Nagasaki who works on the company’s battery strategy also seems to echo this sentiment. In an interview with Bloomberg Nagasaki said the 4680 cells are “key to making more affordable EV models that are capable of meaningfully spreading.”
Currently, Panasonic is setting up pilot production lines to test how to manufacture and supply Tesla with the 4680 cells.
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However, the task is not for the uninitiated. Panasonic battery VP Yasuaki Takamoto says “Producing these larger cells requires you raise your craftsmanship one or two full levels or there will be safety issues.”
Still, Panasonic believes the years of expertise the company has acquired by supplying Tesla with Billions of cells gives the company an advantage over its competitors.
Asked by Bloomberg if Panasonics experience gives the company an advantage Takamoto answered “absolutely give us an upper hand here.”
So what do you think? Are you excited about the new 4680 cells? Do you think Panasonic will remain Tesla’s largest battery supplier? Or do you think Tesla will leave it by the wayside once it ramps its battery cell manufacturing? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.
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Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and The evolution of the EV space on a daily basis for several years. He covers everything about Tesla from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.