Tesla Model Y, Courtesy of Tesla Inc.
Nicolas Caballero's picture

Giga Texas Model Y SR To Have 280-Mile Range (EPA) And LFP Cells

Last January Tesla began series production of the Model Y at Giga Texas, its second plant dedicated to manufacturing cars on US soil. Although deliveries have not yet started, the first customers are expected to receive their units in the coming weeks.
Advertisement

The Model Y made at Giga Texas will differ in several ways from the Fremont and Giga Shanghai versions: to begin with, its front frame will be made from a large casting, a solution used so far only in the rear frame of the electric SUV. This advance alone should highly reduce the weight of the vehicle; however, the key feature will be the use of structural batteries, which should allow Tesla to improve the autonomy of its vehicles by 14%, reducing weight by 10% and increasing the rigidity of the monocoque chassis, while at the same time simplifying the entire production process (as around 370 fewer parts will be used).

In addition, the Giga Texas Model Y will also feature the new 4680 cells, a format that according to calculations made by Tesla will lead to a 16% range improvement and a 14% reduction in costs, as the company patented a "tabless electrode" design that basically doesn't need to use the tabs that connect the electrodes to the housing terminals; hence the name "tabless".

Tesla Model Y, Courtesy of Tesla Inc.

Tesla in fact already announced that all Model 3 and Model Y “Standard Range” would have LFP (Lithium Iron-Phosphate) batteries: despite the fact that all the above-mentioned numbers and percentages were shared by Tesla more than a year and a half ago, the truth is that up until now the key specifications of the Model Y with the entire package of technical improvements were unknown. That is why many people have been surprised to see the ranges stated for the new version on the official EPA website: 280 miles per charge.

Let us remember that the Model Y Long Range AWD and the Performance model produced in Fremont announced 330 and 303 miles EPA, respectively. It is interesting to note that the new model has been called simply Model Y AWD, which clearly indicates that it features all-wheel drive capabilities, just like its brother models.

Tesla Model Y, Courtesy of Tesla Inc.

How is it possible that, despite having structural batteries and 4680 format cells, the Giga Texas Model Y would achieve lower ranges than its Fremont brothers? In the absence of any official confirmation, everything seems to indicate that this is due to the use of LFP (lithium iron phosphate) cells, a chemical with a lower energy density than the NCA (nickel, cobalt, aluminum) of the Tesla Fremont models, but which are at the same time notably more affordable and longer lasting. Therefore, the Model Y AWD will become the entry-access variant of the electric SUV until the arrival of the hypothetical Model Y RWD, which will dispense with all-wheel drive.

All images courtesy of Tesla Inc.

Nico Caballero is the VP of Finance of Cogency Power, specializing in solar energy. He also holds a Diploma in Electric Cars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and enjoys doing research about Tesla and EV batteries. He can be reached at @NicoTorqueNews on Twitter. Nico covers Tesla and electric vehicle latest happenings at Torque News.


Subscribe to Torque News on YouTube.


Follow Torque News on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

Comments

Smart strategy by Tesla. This will allow them to produce new variants without cannibalizing sales of their "older" models, i.e., non-4680 variants. Once the older units have been depleted, and the Fremont factory has been upgraded, they can then discontinue the standard range, and move on to a newer long range variants with significantly more miles (greater than 330 miles).
looks like the most interesting Tesla trim to me with the practicality of the Y and the value/charging speed of the SR LFP batteries. plus it's AWD. let's wait for the price though. Tesla's are overpriced these days
The new 279mi MY AWD variant will be made in Fremont. 1. Elon has stated that all Std Range cars will be LFP-based. 2. There's never been any discussion of a structural battery pack using LFP cells. 3. Austin production line is constructed around using structural battery packs. Primarily 4680-based cars will come out of Austin. Austin MY production ramp-up rate aligns with ramp-up of 4680 availability.