Last year, Tesla unveiled plans to produce its own new tableless battery cell in a larger size with new chemistry.
The automaker claims to have solved some major issues that were preventing the industry from producing larger cylindrical Li-ion cells in a new format called the 4680.
Tesla’s new 4680 battery cells have the potential to be cheaper, more efficient, and therefore allow for longer run times or smaller batteries.
The automaker had to develop new manufacturing processes to manufacture the battery cell, and it plans to deploy them on a large scale at its own new battery factories under construction near Berlin, Shanghai and Austin.
On top of that, Tesla is also partnering with current battery suppliers to roll out their own production of the new 4680 cell.
Panasonic, Tesla’s oldest battery partner, has tentatively announced that it will deploy a production line prototype for the new battery cell.
Later, new Panasonic CEO Yuki Kusumi said he was prepared to make a “big investment” in the production of Tesla’s new battery cell if the test production proves successful.
Today, Panasonic also unveiled the Tesla 4680 cell during a media roundtable (via the le journal Wall Street):
Panasonic’s battery unit chief Kazuo Tadanobu said the new cell has five times the capacity of previous smaller models. He said the battery had been developed according to Tesla’s needs and that Panasonic planned to supply it to Tesla, but declined to give details.
Tadanobu added that Panasonic is currently aiming to start “test production” of these new 4680 cells at a factory in Japan in March 2022.
Tesla recently confirmed its intention to deliver the first vehicles with its new 4680 battery cells next year.
The automaker said production on its own pilot production line in Fremont would provide the first cells for these early vehicles, but it would quickly need partners, like Panasonic, and its own new production facilities in Berlin and Texas. to support larger volumes.
Other battery makers, like LG, Samsung and CATL, have also all indicated that they are aiming to produce 4,680 cells for Tesla.
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