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Tesla A Year Or More Away From Volume Production Of 4680 Cells

12 months if not 18 months away, according to Tesla’s Elon Musk.

Tesla was silent about the progress on its next-generation 4680 cylindrical battery cells, announced at Battery Day in September 2020, in the Q1 2021 report and there is a reason for that.

It appears that bringing those cells into the market in volume is very challenging and might happen later than expected.

Tesla has a “small” pilot plant for the 4680 cells that is envisioned to produce 10 GWh per year (which is actually a lot), but Tesla’s Elon Musk explained during the first-quarter earnings call (via Teslarati), they are not there yet.

Actually, Tesla is not ready to move from the R&D/pilot stage to the volume production of those new cells. Elon Musk explains that the cells are not yet reliable enough to be put in cars:

“We’re not yet at a point where we think the cells are reliable enough to be put in cars. We think we’re close to that point. We’ve already ordered the equipment for battery production in Berlin and Austin as well. We’re down to the nitty gritty on this. I’m confident that we’d achieve volume production of the 4680 next year,” Musk said.

This is probably exactly what Panasonic pointed out recently when it underlined that the high technical requirement of precise, reliable production at a fast rate and high scale is the company’s advantage when it comes to 4680 lithium-ion batteries.

Volume production in 2022 would mean that we will wait at least a year. Elon Musk said even that it could be 18 months away:

“Musk also added that it appears that Tesla is about 12 or not more than 18 months away from volume production of the 4680 cells.”

Meanwhile, the company looks forward to using 4680 cells from existing suppliers – in this regard we are not surprised. It will be very interesting to see who will be the first to solve the technological challenges and come out in volume.

“At the same time, Tesla is also looking to ramp the 4680 cells with its existing suppliers. The 4680 revolution is not a Tesla-only thing. It will involve CATL and LG and Panasonic as well. Ultimately, Tesla is on track to more than double the output from suppliers.”

This article originally appeared on Inside EVs.

imola.zhp

Member
Jul 13, 2020
417
238
Memphis
So this confuses me. I'm under the understanding that Model Y's built in Germany and Austin will be structural battery pack Model Y's...

If 4680's are a year away, then why does Tesla say both plants will start pumping out Model Y's this year, 2021, instead of 2022?
 
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zecar

Member
Nov 30, 2017
395
257
Chicago
So this confuses me. I'm under the understanding that Model Y's built in Germany and Austin will be structural battery pack Model Y's...

If 4680's are a year away, then why does Tesla say both plants will start pumping out Model Y's this year, 2021, instead of 2022?

I'm guessing they have a plan B for new MY production using the current cells. Seems like both the new cells and the new pack would be slow to reach volume production
 

orion2001

Member
Apr 14, 2021
34
32
NC
If I had to guess, I'd say the Model 3/Y aren't going to see 4680 cells for at least another 2 years or so. Tesla already has an advantage with batteries/efficiency with their existing cars. There isn't any big upside to forcing the issue with 4680 cells on their high-volume M3/Y lines if they end up having teething issues and end up needing recalls or expensive fixes at SCs down the line. I suspect they will trial the 4680 cells earlier on their lower-volume product lines like the S Plaid+ and use that to help solve any initial teething issues. It will also give them time to ramp up manufacturing of 4680s and sort out production issues.

That's setting aside the fact that the entire 12-18 month timeline could easily end up being pushed back further. AFAICT, it isn't clear at all if there is any proof yet that anyone can produce these cells at a reasonable scale while ensuring the required reliability for use in cars. Even the Panasonic folks were very cautious in their initial statements about partnering to look into production of the 4680 cells and how they would require extreme levels of precision and quality control.

I really hope they manage to make it work, but at this point, personally, I don't think it makes sense to sit on the fence waiting for 4680 cells and structural battery packs anytime too soon. Clearly they have alternate plans to produce the Model Y at Austin and Berlin using the current battery packs, otherwise this news about the 4680 cells would tank their plans with those factories.
 
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PungoteagDave

Member
Nov 19, 2012
43
60
Pungoteague, VA
"it isn't clear at all if there is any proof yet that anyone can produce these cells at a reasonable scale while ensuring the required reliability for use in cars."

And yet ELon announced it as a very specific thing, accomplished and ready to go. To which Tesla's longstanding Panasonic partner said "say what?" Elon is beyond apirational in virtually everything he says these days. No CEO can survive long term in that mode.
 

mrbloons

Member
May 19, 2020
70
259
Grand Rapids, MI
"it isn't clear at all if there is any proof yet that anyone can produce these cells at a reasonable scale while ensuring the required reliability for use in cars."

And yet ELon announced it as a very specific thing, accomplished and ready to go. To which Tesla's longstanding Panasonic partner said "say what?" Elon is beyond apirational in virtually everything he says these days. No CEO can survive long term in that mode.

And yet he is the longest tenured CEO of any major automaker globally.

Better to shoot for Mars and only make it to the moon than not have tried at all.

Tesla already makes the world’s best cars, what more do you want?
 

El joe

Member
Jan 29, 2019
386
260
Bay Area, CA
And this is why I will buy a Rivian instead of a Cybertruck. All Rivian has to do is deliver on time and they will sell thousands of them.
I completely understand and honestly, I'm leaning towards that way as well. The problem is I haven't reserved a Rivian and I hear they have between 50-70,000 reservations, so chances are I wouldn't get one until the CT was well under production (wishful timeline, I know). Also, I just read that the Rivian only has a bed that's 4.5 feet long or so -- that seems really short for what I'd want a truck for. :/
 

mrbloons

Member
May 19, 2020
70
259
Grand Rapids, MI
I can't wait to see Rivian's and Cybertruck's out on the road, here's hoping it's sooner than later. Don't feel I need all the utility myself, the Model Y meets all my needs.
 

orion2001

Member
Apr 14, 2021
34
32
NC
And this is why I will buy a Rivian instead of a Cybertruck. All Rivian has to do is deliver on time and they will sell thousands of them.
I'm out of the loop when it comes to Rivian but is there any reason to actually be more bullish regarding Rivian delivering vehicles earlier compared to the CT? At least Tesla has many years of experience manufacturing EVs in volume. I would imagine that this is going to be challenging for Rivian in the same way it was very challenging for Tesla when they started out?
 

mrbloons

Member
May 19, 2020
70
259
Grand Rapids, MI
I haven't seen any Rivian's on the road around here yet, but have seen 3 Mach-Es and far too many Tesla's to count. The Tesla's have grown like wildfire around here in the past year. A year ago I'd be lucky to see one a week. Now I see them almost every time I go out. The other day I parked next to 3 different Tesla's at places I stopped at running errands.

Tesla has the best track record of any electric automaker today, period. The most pure electric vehicles delivered, and the best selling model worldwide. How many vehicles has Rivian delivered? Lucid? Dyson? How many others that tried before and didn't make it? I sure hope they all succeed and give Tesla serious competition, but it's easy to be skeptical. I was skeptical of Tesla for the longest time. Rivian sure looks close to being able to deliver vehicles but it might not be easy to be successful. I'm also a bit skeptical that Cybertruck will be on time, wouldn't be surprised to see Austin churning out Y's for some time before the Cybertrucks start rolling out, and even then in low volume and only the highest cost variant for some time. We shall see...
 

tshields

Vendor
Jun 15, 2020
126
39
MIAMI, FL
I haven't seen any Rivian's on the road around here yet, but have seen 3 Mach-Es and far too many Tesla's to count. The Tesla's have grown like wildfire around here in the past year. A year ago I'd be lucky to see one a week. Now I see them almost every time I go out. The other day I parked next to 3 different Tesla's at places I stopped at running errands.

Tesla has the best track record of any electric automaker today, period. The most pure electric vehicles delivered, and the best selling model worldwide. How many vehicles has Rivian delivered? Lucid? Dyson? How many others that tried before and didn't make it? I sure hope they all succeed and give Tesla serious competition, but it's easy to be skeptical. I was skeptical of Tesla for the longest time. Rivian sure looks close to being able to deliver vehicles but it might not be easy to be successful. I'm also a bit skeptical that Cybertruck will be on time, wouldn't be surprised to see Austin churning out Y's for some time before the Cybertrucks start rolling out, and even then in low volume and only the highest cost variant for some time. We shall see...
I totally agree! Tesla has set the gold standard of electric vehicles and have started years before the major car manmufacterors have developed their own. I have been inside the Audi E-Tron was not impressed at all. The interior was cool but the specs were mediocre such as its 222 mile range and its integration system and also not to mention its steep introductory price. I would wait a few more years before I would think about getting an electric car from a different manufacturer.
 

imola.zhp

Member
Jul 13, 2020
417
238
Memphis
I'm out of the loop when it comes to Rivian but is there any reason to actually be more bullish regarding Rivian delivering vehicles earlier compared to the CT? At least Tesla has many years of experience manufacturing EVs in volume. I would imagine that this is going to be challenging for Rivian in the same way it was very challenging for Tesla when they started out?

Rivian has Amazon money.

Thats all they need to succeed. More EV's on the road is good for us all, it doesn't have to be Tesla VS Rivian, but rather Tesla, Rivian and all other all-Electric manufacturers VS ICE.
 
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