Tesla plans to start production of 4680-format battery cells at the Texas Gigafactory this quarter and to surpass the capacity of the Kato pilot line there near the car factory in Fremont, California, by the end of the year.
This was explained by Tesla manager Drew Baglino during the analysts’ conference on the latest quarterly figures. Currently, the production of 4680 cells on the pilot line is not yet sufficient for 1,000 vehicles per week. The challenge is still to get the production processes for the new technologies – including the dry electrodes – under control. As the portal “Electrek” extrapolates, this would correspond to an annual production capacity of less than four GWh.
But: Since this is the pilot line, the four GWh or 1,000 vehicles per week as a limit is not surprising. Large-scale production is expected to change that soon. “Specifically for Texas, the cell equipment was fully installed and commissioned last quarter, and we produced our first test vehicles with Texas cells by the end of the line,” Baglino said. “Our goal for Texas is to start production this quarter and Texas should be able to surpass Kato’s weekly production before the end of this year.” “Kato” is Tesla’s current pilot line in Fremont, located on Kato Road. This facility is often referred to as Tera.
But Tesla has also made progress at Kato recently: since March, production output has increased by 35 per cent each month, writes Electrek, citing the analyst call.
At Giga Texas in Austin, which opened in April, Tesla is building the standard range version of the Model Y, which is only available in North America, with the 4680 cells and structural battery packs. However, the Model Y Long Range, which is now also built there, probably still uses conventional battery packs with the smaller 2170 cells.
According to Tesla, it is not dependent on the 4680 production progress in California and Texas: Elon Musk explained that Tesla has enough cells of the 2170 format to cover the entire vehicle production for the rest of the year. He stressed that the 4680 cells will become important in 2023, not yet this year.
Moreover, Tesla’s perspective is not to rely only on its own 4680 production: Cell partner Panasonic sent the first 4680 sample cells to Tesla and started its own pilot production in Japan in May. Last week it became known that the battery factory for series production will probably be built in Kansas. Samsung SDI is building its 4680 pilot line in Cheonan, with series production reportedly to take place later in Malaysia.
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