May 11, 2023 - 12:03 pm

Panasonic postpones 4680 cell mass production by several months

Tesla’s battery partner Panasonic has postponed the start of series production of its 4680 battery cells. According to a recent statement, Panasonic is now considering the period from April to September 2024 to produce an improved version.

Last year, the Japanese battery manufacturer had still envisaged the period April 2023 to March 2024 for the start of 4680 mass production. “Mass production has been postponed to the beginning of the first half of fiscal 2025 in order to introduce performance improvement measures that will further enhance competitiveness,” a Panasonic earnings forecast document now says. The fiscal year referred to starts in Japan on 1 April 2024 and ends on 31 March 2025.

However, further details on the performance improvements are not mentioned. It is therefore unclear whether it concerns the material composition, the production of individual components such as anode or cathode, or whether it involves the assembly of the cells themselves. Panasonic operates a pilot line for the 4680 cells in its plant in Wakayama Prefecture, but later series production will take place in the USA.

One thing is clear: Tesla also had problems meeting its production and performance targets for the 4680 cells. Currently, the large-volume round cells are installed in the US base variant of the Model Y, they are also used in the Semi electric truck and will also be used in the upcoming Cybertruck pickup model. The lack of availability of 4680 cells was a bottleneck in the development and production of these models for a long time.


Then at the end of April, during the Q1 earnings conference call, it was revealed that Tesla itself was producing a second, “more producible version” of the 4680 round cell at Gigafield Texas. It is not known whether Tesla shared these findings with its long-time battery partner Panasonic or whether the Japanese made these improvements themselves.

While only Tesla’s own 4680 cells are currently installed in the Model Y and Semi, there was an agency report in March that Tesla would rely primarily on round cells from Panasonic and LGES for the Cybertruck. With the delay at Panasonic that has now become known, the first series-produced copies of the Cybertruck, which according to earlier information are to be built from 2023, are therefore likely to be equipped primarily with LGES cells. The South Korean cell manufacturer announced the construction of a new production line at its Ochang plant in South Korea for 4680 round cells in mid-2022. The line is to have an annual production capacity of 9 GWh – and there were already indications at the time that LGES would apparently produce there for Tesla. According to the status at the time, production of the 4680 cells in Ochang was to start in the second half of 2023.


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11.05.2023 12:53