Tesla’s Gigafactory Texas-built Model Y will equip the company’s Structural Battery Pack and revolutionary 4680 cells, CEO Elon Musk confirmed on the company’s Q4 2021 Earnings Call.
Musk confirmed that Tesla has been building many Model Y units at Gigafactory Texas in recent days as the factory nears production approval. Upon updating listeners that Tesla would begin deliveries of the Texas built-Model Y when the vehicle receives an approval certification, Musk confirmed that the 4680 battery cells and Structural Battery Pack system would be used in vehicles built at Gigafactory Texas.
Tesla updated the timeline for the plant in its Shareholder Deck by stating, “Builds of Model Ys started in late 2021 at Gigafactory Texas. After final certification of Austin-made Model Y, we plan to start deliveries to customers.”
Interestingly, Tesla also stated in its Q4 2021 Shareholder Deck that Model Ys built at Gigafactory Berlin in Germany would not initially equip the 4680 cells. These vehicles will equip 2170 battery cells at first, which have been used in the Model 3 and Model Y since their early production days.
The 4680 cell aims to revolutionize lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles. It is 46 millimeters wide and 80 millimeters long and will increase energy density by five times, increase range by sixteen percent, and improve power output by six times. The cell has been in development since 2020, kept behind the doors of the Kato Road facility.
Drew Baglino, SVP of Powertrain for Tesla, said that “4680 cells are not a constraint to our 2022 volume plans.” He added that he expects the first vehicles equipping the 4680 cells to be delivered by the end of Q1 2022.
Structural Battery Pack
Musk also confirmed the Gigafactory Texas Model Ys would equip the Structural Battery Pack, which will increase vehicle rigidity and structural integrity.
Tesla hinted that the Structural Pack was being included in cars when it released the Shareholder Deck just before the Earnings Call began.
The Structural Battery Pack works like an aircraft wing and will improve the structural integrity of Tesla vehicles. While the casting improves manufacturing efficiency and strength, the positioning of structural batteries eliminates excess structure from the battery packs, increasing density. “The non-cell portion of the battery has negative mass,” Musk said. “We saved more mass in the rest of the vehicle than in the non-cell portion of the battery. So how do you really minimize the mass of the battery? Make it negative.”
The idea is that individual cells could be positioned more efficiently because excessive structures within the pack itself were eradicated. The new Structural Battery Pack design is completely free of any negative mass, which improves pack density along with structural integrity. It will only make the vehicles safer, already improving upon the world-class crash safety ratings that Tesla has across its product line.
Now that Model Y vehicles being manufactured at Gigafactory Texas are confirmed to have the Structural Battery Pack and 4680 cells, Tesla’s long-standing projects to revolutionize castings and EV battery tech are here.
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