Elon Musk Just UPGRADED Its Game-Changing 4680 Battery Cells!
Tesla has issued an in-depth update on its 4680 battery cell program, which is expected to be important for the company’s future electric vehicles. Since Tesla presented its own cell approach at Battery Day in 2020, the 4680 battery cell format has taken the industry by storm. The automaker claimed that the new design has the potential to lower battery costs by more than 50%; it has since attempted to bring it to volume production, however has encountered several difficulties. And just recently, Tesla just hired an expert to overcome this challenge. And so, let’s find out in this episode what’s new with Tesla’s legendary 4680 battery!
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Tesla provided an update on its 4680 battery cell production during a conference call following the release of its Q1 2023 financial results.
Tesla’s senior VP of engineering, Drew Baglino, stated of the 4680 cell:
“On Battery Day, we established a cost-down roadmap through 2026 across five areas of effort. There was the cell design we discussed; anode and cathode materials, the structural pack concept, and the cell factory itself. We’ve been making progress across all these aspects since then. For the Cell Factory, for the Texas 4680 factory, we are part way through building and commissioning and installing and operating, will be 70% lower capex per gigawatt hour than typical cell factories when fully ramped in line with what we described on Battery Day. And we’re continuing to further pursue densification and investment reduction opportunities in future factory buildouts like in Nevada.”
Tesla is now producing 4680 cells at its Fremont pilot facility, however higher volume production is expected at Gigafactory Texas, which is the “cell factory” Baglino is referring to.
He went on to say:
“On the cell design, we’re in production with not only the first generation tabless cell we unveiled on Battery Day but a second more manufacturable version in Texas today. On the cathode material side. we have a number of activities underway per the Battery Day roadmap. For lithium, our Corpus Christi Lithium Refinery breaks ground this May. Our goal is to start commissioning portions of the facility for the end of the year. The refinery uses the sulfate-free refining process with reduced process costs, no acid or caustic reagents, lower embodied energy. It actually produces a beneficial byproduct that can be re-purposed in construction materials.”
The executive also provided a more detailed information on its cathode facility at Gigafactory Texas:
“We discussed all of these concepts on Battery Day. Same with cathode precursor, we’ve successfully demonstrated a lower process cost, zero waste water precursor process that we described on Battery Day at both lab and pilot scale and are on the detailed design phase for incorporating this technology into the front end of our Austin cathode facility. On cathode production, we are 50% equipment and 75% utilities installed at our new cathode building in Austin with our goal to begin dry and wet commissioning this quarter and next quarter with a target to produce first material before the end of the year.”
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