Tesla’s 4680 battery cell has battery makers and suppliers battling for the contract of a lifetime, developing prototypes and samples of the cylindrical design in an effort to win a contract from the electric car company.
In 2020, Tesla unveiled the 4680 cell, a new battery that the company would begin implementing its vehicles. Not only did Tesla outline its 5x energy capacity, its 6x increase in power, and its 16% increase in range, but it also showed how the 4680 cells would be structurally integrated into its vehicles. The design would create a robust and more competent vehicle structure, adding to rigidity, safety, and overall strength for cars in the event of an accident.
However, the 4680 cell hasn’t been rolled out into vehicles quite yet, and Tesla is still loading up on the new batteries ahead of its initial installation into the company’s all-electric vehicles. While Tesla is producing the cell in-house at the Kato Road facility in Northern California, other cell manufacturers are creating prototypes of Tesla’s revolutionary cell, sparring for a chance to be offered a once-in-a-lifetime contract that would allow a company to produce the cell for the company’s vehicles.
According to a new report from The Korea Herald, battery suppliers are currently developing prototypes and testing them ahead of sending them to Tesla. The report states:
“Samsung SDI and LG Energy Solution have developed samples of cylindrical 4680 cells and are currently conducting various tests at their facilities to verify their structural integrity. Also, they have provided specifications of their 4680 cells to their vendors.”
While Tesla already depends on LG Chem, Panasonic, and CATL for its energy needs across the multiple regions where its vehicles are available, there is room for Samsung SDI to join the supply chain, officials say. Samsung reportedly linked up with Tesla in an over $400 million deal for cameras that will be equipped on the Cybertruck, sources reported yesterday. Samsung is also in the process of building its first battery cell plant in the United States, and a deal with Tesla for the 4680 cells would only improve the company’s situation as it expands into Tesla’s home country.
As previously mentioned, the 4680 cells are not currently being placed in vehicles by Tesla. However, the cells will be transported to Germany from the Kato Road facility for Model Y production at Giga Berlin. They will also likely be a part of the Model Y production at Giga Texas, which is slated to begin production by the end of the year, along with the German plant.