Tesla Giga Berlin Approvals and Elon Musk
Nicolas Caballero's picture

Tesla: Pre-Approvals for Giga Berlin and 4680 Battery Cell Production

As of yesterday evening, Tesla Giga Berlin received 2 additional pre-approvals from the Brandenburg State Environment Agency for its Giga Factory in Grünheide, Germany. That means that the construction of rainwater pools, extinguishing water and some other buildings can basically go ahead, which is certainly good news not only for Tesla fans, but for the EV industry in Germany and in Europe as well, as that factory will be providing cars and 4680 cells for the European market.
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The 4680 battery cells for the Model Y (and for other models as well) that have become some sort of Holy Grail of batteries, which in turn has launched a frantic race to develop the most efficient ones: apparently, Giga Berlin will have competition from “Store Dot” an Israeli firm that announced they will be producing the same kind of cell.

Store Dot claims that by the year 2024 their 4680 cells will be able to recharge in 10 minutes; without revealing too many details about the internal composition of their cells, they have confirmed the use of their XFC technology where silicon predominates in the anode composition. That said, the firm ensures that after this first prototype, the possibilities of adaptation to different uses are very high, which translates into a great versatility in terms of chemistry and scalability. Behind Store Dot we can find other big contributors such as BP, TDK, VinFast or Daimler, carrying out the first tests of the prototype in the EVE Energy laboratories in China. According to the results obtained, these new cells allow to recharge their capacity in 10 minutes, and so they are now beginning the process for mass production by 2024.

Although there is still some time to see the 4680 cells on the market, Tesla intends to install them in its models produced in the Berlin Giga Factory, and the truth is that this change presents interesting improvements. The 4680 cells (46 x 80 mm) promise 6 times more power and 5 times more capacity than the 2170 cells (21 x 70 mm), which along with the 18650 are the most common today. The use of these larger cells will make it possible to increase the energy density of the batteries, maintaining manufacturing costs reasonable as compared to today’s costs, which will mean a reduction in the price of batteries in general and therefore the price of electric cars.

The Palo Alto manufacturer's plans are currently based on a promising structural battery based on the new 4680 batteries. Without these, the programs for the Semi electric truck, the cyberpunk-styled pickup truck, and the almost forgotten supercar (more Targa-like than roadster) seem totally unviable. In addition to the previous models, the future of the SUV that must exceed the figures of the best-selling electric car in history depends to a large extent on these batteries, although provisionally it will be using the 2170 cells, as the first units out of the new factories of Texas and Berlin will come out.
One of the big challenges for 4680 cells will be heat dissipation, something where immersion cooling could be a key feature.

As I mentioned before, these cells have become the new “holy grail” of battery manufacturers, a new cell design that improves the performance and characteristics of accumulators, resulting in greater storage capacity, longer life and better performance. Tesla is one of the main drivers of this bet, but they are not alone in this race.

Also, see my latest story, in which I discuss Tesla's latest battery research breakthrough, which it's not about 4680 battery, but something different.

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.


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