Musk Says New Batteries Are Already in Cars for Tests
Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirms that Tesla's new 4680 batteries, presented at the Battery Day, are already in test-production vehicles for months.
Teslamag has the details.
With a new format for battery cells alone, which will soon be mass-produced in-house, Tesla wants to cut costs per kilowatt-hour by 14 percent and increase the range of electric cars by 16 percent. The CEO Elon Musk announced last week at Tesla's big battery information day. Pilot production is currently being set up in Fremont, initially for 10-gigawatt hours of cells per year. And now the Tesla boss added: The first of the new cells in the large 4680 format have been used in his company's electric cars for months.
Musk said this on Sunday on Twitter after one of the many inquiries about Tesla's cells and other battery plans; this may not have become clear enough during the presentation. On the stage in front of drawn and handpicked listeners in a kind of electric car cinema, however, he had already mentioned that Tesla had produced tens of thousands of cells in the new large format. And he showed a video of a prototype for the Tesla Model S Plaid, which will be the fastest production car ever to hit the market at the end of 2021.
Suppliers. We’re only doing high energy nickel ourselves, at least for now. Also, maybe the presentation wasn’t clear that we’ve actually had our cells in packs driving cars for several months. Prototypes are trivial, volume production is hard.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 26, 2020
The new statements from the Tesla boss (and the data) suggest that the Model S in the video was already equipped with the new 4680 cells. And it shouldn't be the only Tesla that's already driving around with it. Because of their higher capacity, significantly fewer individual cells of the new cells are needed per electric car, so that a few tens of thousands of them should be sufficient for at least a few dozen person Teslas (or one or the other semi).
The problem with his own Tesla cells is not the new format per se, but the efficient, high-volume production, explains Musk - "Prototypes are trivial". Among other things, with different interior design without a thin flap to conduct electricity, Tesla wants to relieve the cells thermally and thereby make the large format sensible. In addition, the coating of electrodes should no longer take place in a complex wet process with subsequent drying, but in a dry process. This was developed by the storage specialist Maxwell Technologies, which was taken over by Tesla in 2019. As early as the Battery Day, Musk said that making it suitable for mass production still means a lot of work.
In addition, the CEO explained in his latest Twitter message that Tesla initially only wanted to produce the best of its new cells itself, i.e. those with the highest remaining nickel content. The rest will continue to come from suppliers. In the run-up to the Battery Day, Musk had already stated that Tesla by no means wanted to manufacture all of its batteries in the future.
Armen Hareyan is the founder and the Editor in Chief of Torque News. He founded TorqueNews.com in 2010, which since then has been publishing expert news and analysis about the automotive industry. He can be reached at Torque News Twitter, Facebok, Linkedin and Youtube.