Tesla recently shared some footage of its next-generation 4680 battery cells being produced. The video, which seems to be taken from the electric car maker’s pilot Roadrunner line, suggests that Tesla’s 4680 battery manufacturing system may very well be Elon Musk’s elusive “Alien Dreadnought” concept coming to life.
During the lead up to the Model 3’s initial ramp, Elon Musk envisioned a vehicle production system that was so automated, it would look extraterrestrial in nature. Dubbed as the “Alien Dreadnought,” this concept ultimately fell short of its targets, and Tesla eventually adopted a production system for the Model 3 that combined both human and automated machines. Since then, Tesla has taken steps towards increasing the automation of its vehicle production system, as evidenced by parts like the Model Y’s rigid wiring, which are optimized for installation by robots.
Tesla’s video of its 4680 battery production line suggests that the company’s level of automation has reached levels that have never been seen before. As noted by TSLA bull @truth_tesla on Twitter, the footage shared by Tesla in its recruitment video showed a battery production line that is incredibly automated. This could be seen immediately in Tesla’s main battery production line, which, unlike traditional battery manufacturing facilities, is largely absent of human workers.
A facility worker was visible at one point in the video, though interestingly enough, the man appeared to be wearing regular factory attire. Considering that cell production facilities are usually clean rooms that require workers to wear protective gear, as well as the fact that there seems to be a barrier between the worker and the battery production equipment, it would appear that a good part of the Roadrunner line in Tesla’s Kato Road facility is an isolated high-grade clean room with very limited human presence.
Additional hints about the 4680 battery cells’ automated production process emerged recently when EV blog Electrek leaked an image of Tesla’s structural battery pack featuring a honeycomb architecture. EV enthusiasts, such as some members of the r/TeslaMotors subreddit, have noted that the leaked image of Tesla’s structural battery pack seems to be optimized for automated assembly as well.
If Tesla has indeed created a hyper-automated system to produce its 4680 battery cells, the company could very well end up widening the gap between itself and its competitors even further. Traditional automakers today, after all, are still utilizing modular battery packs that would require a notable degree of human assembly. Reports have emerged about technologies such as Apple’s “monocell” design, though details on such initiatives are scarce for now. Needless to say, if Tesla’s 4680 battery line is as automated as speculated, the production system could very well be considered the first of Elon Musk’s actual working “Alien Dreadnought” solutions.
Watch Tesla’s battery recruitment video featuring its 4680 cell production line in the video below.
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