After Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled a new 4680 tabless battery at the company’s Battery Day even last week, there was some speculation about using the new cell. One of the biggest questions many enthusiasts had on their minds was, “what would Tesla do with the existing 2170 cells that are currently used in the Model 3 and Model Y?”
Now, we know that Tesla will continue to use the 2170 cells in the Model 3 and Model Y to keep battery constraints to a minimum, as the new 4680 cell is still at low availability.
Musk confirmed the fact that Tesla will continue to use its last battery cell for the time being on Twitter when a follower of his asked what the plan was with the 2170 cell. Musk indicated that the 2170 cells would be used for years to come while Tesla continues to work on the ramp-up of the new 4680 cells.
The 2170 cell has been crucial for Tesla’s previous two vehicles as it improved current and power while decreasing price. The cells led to a reduction in price for the vehicle’s overall cost, which has helped Tesla become a mass-market manufacturer.
However, the company still does not have an affordable-enough vehicle, according to Musk. Not every car buyer is looking to spend more $35,000 for a car, even if it is less expensive because of maintenance, and it is environmentally friendly. It is about what people can afford.
Behold, the 4680 battery. A new cell will five-times the energy, decreased charging times, six-times the power, and more available range for Tesla’s cars. Musk stated during the event that a pilot production line was already manufacturing the cells at a facility in Fremont, known as Kato Road.
Interestingly, Musk recently revealed on an episode of the Sway podcast from the New York Times that Tesla has been using the new battery cells for several months. Some cars that have been delivered this year are utilizing the 4680 cells.
“The results will speak for themselves. The cells we’re talking about we have produced many of them. We have had cars driving with those cells since May,” Musk said to Kara Swisher during the podcast.
As of now, Tesla cannot completely abandon the 2170 cells because the demand for vehicles is far greater than what the company has in terms of 4680 cells. If Tesla were to only equip 4680 cells in its cars for the foreseeable future, deliveries would drop off significantly because it does not have enough cells yet.
Over the next few years, Tesla will likely transition to 4680 cells being the most used battery within its vehicles. The development of the newly-designed battery will help Tesla reduce the price of its cars, ultimately displacing gas engines on the road and leading to a more sustainable future.