Tesla confirmed that its 4680 battery production reaches the capacity to provide batteries for 1,000 cars per week. The 4680 battery cells are the company’s new battery technology developed by Tesla from the ground up. It is made by tuning its already existing battery cells, 18650 and 2170 cells formats.
Now Tesla planned to develop a cell of its own with a much bigger format enabled by a tableless design. Tesla also planned to manufacture the cells itself along through partnerships with existing cell manufacturers.
That was more than two years ago, and we haven’t had a clear look at the progress of Tesla’s own 4680 battery cell production. Tesla has held tightly to its battery cell manufacturing data. The last official data point that Tesla released was the first 1 million cells completed at its pilot plant in Fremont, and that was back in February 2022. Since then, Tesla has only released a few statements about percentage increases in its production rate without confirming the actual production rate.
That’s enough to produce over 1,000 Model Y vehicles. The cells are used to produce one type of Model Y vehicle with a structural battery pack at Gigafactory Texas. Alongside the pilot plant in Fremont, the automaker is also establishing higher volume production at the Texas plant for a shorter supply chain.
While Tesla battery supply constraints have eased up over the last year thanks to suppliers ramping up production, a lot of the automaker’s growth in 2023 is expected to be tied to its capacity to ramp up 4680 cell production. Therefore, this milestone is good to hit just ahead of the new year. Tesla appeared to have a lot of issues hitting volume production with the 4680 cells, but those numbers could mean that Tesla worked through some of the bigger bottlenecks.
If we combine the latest news with the previous info that the Tesla Giga Texas plant has produced 3,000 Model Y cars per week for the very first time, it turns out that no more than about one-third is equipped with 4680-type battery cells (Tesla Model Y AWD). It means that the remaining 2,000 Model Y/week were Long Range AWD versions, powered by 2170-type battery cells. Tesla initially said that the pilot production line is expected to produce 10 GWh of batteries annually. That’s a lot, but still not enough for 5,000 Model Y cars per week (250,000 per year) in Texas, which is the target.
Implying that Tesla will have to start volume production of 4680-type battery cells also at the Giga Texas site to make the full switch to 4680 in Texas and support the Tesla Cybertruck’s launch.