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Tesla Explains Why The Refreshed Model Y Only Has A 279 Mile Range Despite 4680 Cells & Structural Pack

Tesla has finally given an explanation on why the refreshed Model Y only has a 279-mile range despite sporting the revolutionary 4680 cells and a structural battery pack.
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Tesla recently held an epic party to mark the opening of the company’s newest Gigafactory in Austin, Texas. The event so-called Cyber Rodeo featured everything from Tesla’s latest redesigned Cybertruck prototype to the first mention of a “futuristic dedicated robotaxi” Tesla is building; to drone formation featuring DogeCoin; and everything in between.

And one surprise announcement that came during the party was that Tesla held a delivery event for Model Y’s produced at the factory. At the event, Musk said, the vehicles come with Tesla’s newest 4680 batteries and a structural battery pack.

The 4680 cells and the structural battery pack architecture are seen as the holy grail of EV adoption. According to Tesla’s Battery Day presentation, all the cell chemistry, design, and manufacturing advancements that come with the 4680 cells amount to a 54% improvement in range, 56% improvement in cost per kilowatt-hour, and a 69% reduction in capital expenditure.

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The 4680 cells are also better for the environment due to a new, Tesla pioneered, lithium extraction and mining technique, dry electrode formation, use of silicon anode, and many more breakthroughs.

Considering all these advancements, it’s thought that Giga Texas-made Model Y will be Tesla’s most profitable vehicle to date. Especially when we take into account that the EV maker has priced the refreshed Model Y close to the same price as the current Model Y.

This is all wonderful on paper however, one disappointment with the refreshed Model Y is how little range the vehicle has. Given all these advancements and based on Elon Musk’s statements we were predicting when it finally begins production the refreshed Model Y will have a 475-mile range.

However, according to Tesla Raj who was able to get into the new Model Y at the Cyber Rodeo event, the vehicle is all-wheel drive and has a 279-mile range. This has sent shockwaves throughout the Tesla community.

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Most were dumbfounded trying to figure out how Tesla’s most advanced cells have produced a Model Y variant with the shortest range. Currently, at least in the US, the Model Y variant with the shortest range is the Performance Model Y, with a 303-mile range.

As a result, some EV watchers have even gone so far as to conclude Tesla’s Battery Day presentation was a lie. However, the EV maker has now explained why the 4680 Model Y only has a 279-mile range.

The information was shared by Tesla enthusiast Whole Mars Catalog and the EV maker’s statement opens with a rhetorical question asking “why does Model Y AWD have a lower range and acceleration despite having the new 4680 battery cells?”

Tesla’s answer continues to explain…

Introducing the new cells meant introducing a new variant of the Model Y. We’ve designed Model Y AWD [Tesla’s name for the refreshed Model Y] to have an attractive combination of range, performance, and price that will be the best fit for many customers and will make Model Y accessible to more customers, furthering our mission. Those interested in an even more capable Model Y should explore Model Y Long Range & Performance. We have chosen to put a lower energy battery pack in Model Y AWD, resulting in a lower range, acceleration, and price point.

If you missed it, the last part is the key. We were expecting the refreshed Model Y to have a 475-mile range with the assumption Tesla will put the same size battery pack in the new vehicles. However, according to Tesla’s statement, the EV maker has chosen to put a smaller battery pack in the refreshed Model Y.

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Tesla deciding to start a 4680 cell vehicle production with a smaller battery pack makes a whole lot of sense. First, the EV maker has said on multiple occasions that the number one constraint on Tesla’s growth is a lack of batteries.

So by designing a smaller 4680 battery pack, Tesla will be able to produce more vehicles per given amount of cells.

Second, this also allows Tesla not to kill demand for the current Model Y. If Tesla was to come out with a Model Y variant, with 400 plus mile range, under 3 seconds acceleration, and priced cheaper than the current Model Y, then demand will shift entirely to the new vehicle.

In principle, this isn’t entirely bad since Tesla is continuously trying to disrupt its own products. However, due to the battery limitations, the EV maker will not be able to produce enough cells to satisfy the undoubtedly colossal demand there will be for the new vehicle.

Related News: Tesla Model Y With 4680 Battery Cells Already Circulating In The US

Even though disappointed to see the first Tesla with the revolutionary 4680 cells is the Tesla with the shortest range, I personally completely support and understand Tesla’s decision.

Elon Musk speaking at the Giga Texas opening event has said 2022 will be about scaling production to incredible levels. So hopefully, this year Tesla will be able to quickly grow 4680 battery production so that we won’t have to wait long until we see a Tesla product that can take full advantage of all the advancements of the new battery.

As of now, we don’t know when the new product is coming and what form it will take but, we will be sure to keep you posted as we learn more about Tesla’s plans. Until then, make sure to visit our site torquenews.com/Tesla regularly for the latest updates.

So what do you think? Disappointed with the range figures for the first 4680 Tesla? Also, what is your view of Tesla’s approach of transitioning to the 4680 throughout its product lineup? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Image: Taken From Tesla’s Cyber Rodeo Stream

For more information check out: Pressure Mounts On Elon Musk To Stop Using Russian Gas At Tesla’s Berlin Gigafactory

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.


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Comments

I am feeling betrayed. I expect more not less from Tesla.
I think Tesla is pulling some BS on us. If they use fewer batteries to make the lower range model Y in why is the efficiency lower than a heavier model Y long range? Doesn’t make sense to me. The problem is you can never trust Tesla tell the truth. I understand why but I’m betting model Y all wheel drive will get a software update improving its range drastically.
You are right. I should have added this to the article. The 4680 Model Y is only rated at 123MPGe whereas the Long Range Model Y with 330 miles range is rated at 122MPGe. This means the Long Range Model Y with 2170 cells is actually considerably more efficient than the 4680 Model Y. This makes absolutely no sense! Anyone got theories?
Wonder if new battery packs will be based on LFP rather than existing formulation. Cost and availability of nickel are a serious problem. Shifting to the alternative proven battery formulation is not hard and will improve costs. It is estimated that the increased cost of nickel from the cutoff of Russian supplies is approximately $1,000/car. Tesla has a heavy focus on trying to produce a more affordable main stream car. As prices of model Ys/Model3s have climbed, need to bring down costs. New design with structural battery pack, large front/rear single piece castings should cut labor hours dramatically making building cars in high labor cost markets such as the U.S. and Germany better able to compete with Mexico and China.
Production of 4680s is still slow, so they have to balance range vs number of delivered 4680 MYs. This choice is not surprising to me
What about the competition. Lucid and mercedes are / have 400 plus miles. Wheras New Tesla Y miles are going south. Less acceleration, same price but may go up every 2 months. Banking on high expectations and making profits. Just like selling fsd and coming up with excuses. I drive tesla and it is 62k miles with no moving accident. Still i cannot have beta they say.
yeah but those are more comparable to the S which does have a larger range . And have you tried to actually get one. Limited production in comparison so far.
LFP's are advancing quickly . Less worry about battery management with those to. Notice Tesla is now going to buy BYD and others. You need a 400 mile range to get 300 real world.
A little disappointed but not surprised in the least. A while back Tesla mentioned what the current 4680 battery production levels were - I believe the just made their one millionth 4680 battery. And their 4680 mfg capacity has not grown much since. We won't see MYLR & MYP cars with 4680s until the Giga Texas 4680 mfg facility is fully ramped up. Besides, a MYLR / MYP with 4680s from Texas versus a MYLR / MYP with 2170s from Fremont would generate a lot of unnecessary customer confusion and frustration for those customers where battery technology is a deal-breaker. Personally, I am waiting for the Dilithium Crystal in a Structural Glove Box in a Model S Plaid+++ that can do 0-60MPH in 0.5 seconds, 0-350MPH in 2.5 seconds, and has a range measured in Light Years.
You do realise that two lithium atoms = one carbon atom? Your goal is coal.
A little disappointed but not surprised in the least. A while back Tesla mentioned what the current 4680 battery production levels were - I believe the just made their one millionth 4680 battery. And their 4680 mfg capacity has not grown much since. We won't see MYLR & MYP cars with 4680s until the Giga Texas 4680 mfg facility is fully ramped up. Besides, a MYLR / MYP with 4680s from Texas versus a MYLR / MYP with 2170s from Fremont would generate a lot of unnecessary customer confusion and frustration for those customers where battery technology is a deal-breaker. Personally, I am waiting for the Dilithium Crystal in a Structural Glove Box in a Model S Plaid+++ that can do 0-60MPH in 0.5 seconds, 0-350MPH in 2.5 seconds, and has a range measured in Light Years.
New Y range sucks big time!!! I was hoping the new refreshed Y would have the 475 miles range and was going to order one. Now, no thanks. :)
Defiantly disappointing. Especially when it took so long to get the 4680 out . (at least according to the promised timeline) And we still don't know the real world specs on the car or the battery. For instance can you charge it all the way to 100 percent without worrying about the battery life? Speed of charging , weight of car. And only the employees can buy one probably after signing an NDA.
It may be Tesla still have many 2170 left to sell. So it may take some time before 4680 range updated via software updates like Tesla did previously with 2170. Tesla wants ppl to buy rest of the 2170 Model 3/Y, once they are done with it, I bet they may initiate software update for all 2170 and 4680 in future and at that point you may see 4680 getting a range up to 400 miles etc..
I am definitely going to buy a Tesla probably the Y model. My daughter has one for over a year and it is the best car I have ever seen or driven in and Elon Musk is a genius.....but I need one that will get over 400 miles and won't buy one til it does. I was hoping the 4680 battery would do it but from all reports because of a smaller battery pack it is getting less than the Y model my daughter has which is over 300 miles. Ralph Wittick Graeagle, Ca.
There is a Utube video that disassembled the 4680 cell and it showed that it was only partially filled with some electrolyte. Maybe they have a shortage of materials, have not perfected the production process, or having technical problems with the cell so that it does not have the full capacity. They are trying to reinvent the wheel or make a bigger wheel. CATL's Qilin CTP battery is already higher density than the theoretical 4680 battery and is easier to cool, is safer, and will be available in 2023 with over 600miles range. And supposedly, not any more expensive than the existing Tesla battery they use in China and possibly cheaper. Why need more range? Because it reduces the need to constantly charge. When I told the Tesla rep that I needed to drive from SF to LA without stopping, she said that with the current 2170 cells, I would just need to charge once for 30 minutes. The problem is, I drive after work so that 30 minutes would be spent in a dark possibly crime vulnerable area. The few times I did not make it in a gas car, I was refuelling in downtown LA, with transients approaching me towards midnight. A 30 minute charging session will not improve that experience.