Tesla is apparently looking for more suppliers to manufacture its 4680 battery cell in China. According to a Chinese media report, Tesla is already negotiating with several battery manufacturers in the country, such as the existing suppliers CATL and LG, but also with new suppliers.
The information comes from the portal 36 Krypton, which refers to an “industry representative who has worked with Yiwei Lithium Energy”, and states that Tesla and Yiwei are currently discussing the possibilities of cooperation. One option is some kind of contract manufacturing: Tesla designs the 4680 batteries, which are then built by the manufacturing partner.
Yiwei Lithium Energy, based in Huizhou, specialises in LFP batteries and supplies them to Xpeng, for example. The e-car manufacturer announced in March that it would offer LFP batteries as an option for the G3 (now G3i) and P7. According to Ji Yajuan, director of the research office for basic materials and technology at Yiwei Lithium Energy, the company has already developed technologies for large round cells in the 4680 and 4695 formats.
According to another source, Tesla is also said to be negotiating with BAK Battery – this manufacturer already uses round cells on a large scale and has also developed its own 4680 cell. As 36 Krypton further writes, LG Energy Solution and CATL are also said to be in talks with Tesla. At CATL, the development of the large cylindrical cells is to take place under the project name “Golden Hoop Bar”.
CATL did not respond to a request for comment, and Tesla China was also approached but would not comment on the information.
Tesla had unveiled its version of a 4680 cell (the number simply stands for the dimensions of 46 millimetres in diameter and 80 millimetres in height) at ‘Battery Day’ last September. Compared to the 2170 cell currently used by Tesla, the 4680 battery is said to achieve five times the energy density, offer six times the power and cost 24 per cent less per kilowatt hour.
The 4680 cell should be used in the Model Y built in Texas and Germany, as well as in the Model S Plaid+, which has been announced in the meantime, and the Tesla Semi and Roadster 2. However, Tesla does not yet have a stable supply of 4680 cells, which is why there is supposed to be a plan B (probably with 2170 cells) at least for Model Y production in Austin and Giga Berlin in Grünheide, Brandenburg.
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