During the Q2 2022 earnings call, Elon Musk was quick to note that Tesla is not dependent on its 4680 cells yet. Model Ys are being produced in Texas, but only some of them are equipped with 4680 structural battery packs. Those that are not equipped with 4680 batteries are fitted with the company’s 2170 cells, similar to the Model Ys produced in the Fremont Factory.
Recent aerial photographs taken at the Gigafactory Texas complex suggest that Tesla is gaining some ground in its efforts to ramp the production of 4680 structural battery packs for its best-selling all-electric crossover. Shared by Giga Texas observer and drone operator Joe Tegtmeyer, the images showed a large number of 4680 structural battery packs being stored on one of Giga Texas’ upper floors.
There are some telltale signs that the batteries photographed at Giga Texas were 4680 structural packs. Immediately noticeable from the images was the presence of seat mounting frames on the battery packs themselves. These seat mounting frames are where the Texas-made Model Y’s seats are directly installed, as featured and confirmed by Munro and Associates’ teardown.
The images of the 4680 structural packs at Giga Texas inspired a number of speculations from the EV community, some of whom suggested that the battery packs were likely being assembled in the facility. This speculation makes quite a bit of sense as Tesla’s pilot production plant for its next-generation cells at Kato Road in Fremont, California appears to be focused on producing 4680 cells, not the whole structural battery pack.
The sighting of the structural battery packs at Giga Texas bodes well for Tesla’s 4680 ramp. Tesla has been pretty understated with the progress of its 4680 program, with Elon Musk and other Tesla executives simply noting that the next-generation cells will be relevant in the coming year. Still, it’s quite exciting and encouraging to see the battery packs filling up some portions of Giga Texas today.
Tesla’s structural battery packs are a key component of the company’s next-generation vehicle design. Together with the use of megacasts, structural batteries allow Tesla’s electric vehicles to use their batteries as a structural component. This, at least according to Tesla, optimizes production costs and makes vehicles even safer.
Watch a recent drone flyover of Giga Texas in the video below.
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