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Panasonic Will Only Produce 4680 Cells for Tesla by 2023

After Reuters revealed that the Tesla Cybertruck would only be manufactured from March 2023, Tesla fans started trying to change the subject. They share “leaked” images of the prototype, insist that Pepsico will get Semi units soon, that the Model Y with 4680 cells will soon be ready, etc. A new report from Asia Nikkei denies all that: Panasonic will only make 4680 batteries by 2023.
Tesla 4680 cells 6 photos
Tesla's 4680 Battery CellTesla's 4680 Battery CellPanasonic's  Financial 2021 Fiscal Results presentationTesla Battery DayTesla's 4680 Battery Cell
Tesla designed all its new vehicles around this new cell, which would offer up to 15% more range for similarly sized battery packs. Unlike other automakers, the American company insists on cylindrical cells because they present a manufacturing advantage. The 4680 batteries would present the best cylindrical format to date.

In an interview with Nikkei Asia, Kazuo Tadanobu revealed that these cells would just get into production lines by 2023. The Energy Company CEO – Panasonic’s energy branch – said that “the technological goals (for the 4680 cells) have largely been achieved.” That could give the impression that development is finished but focus on “largely” here.

However, it is what Tadanobu said afterward that revealed what is probably the main issue with getting the 4680 batteries in cars: “... mass-producing them requires new techniques.” In other words, while there is still a technological goal or two to achieve, it is finding a way to produce these cells that is taking so much time.

Tesla stockholders will say that Panasonic producing these batteries only in 2023 does not mean Tesla cannot do that earlier. However, it is not that simple. If these cells were easy to manufacture at this point, Tesla would do so and would also ask Panasonic to help. After all, the Japanese company has been a Tesla partner for most of its history.

Tadanobu said that Panasonic is “currently building a prototype production line in Japan that will come online in stages.” They will be defined by manufacturing trials that will perfect the process “until it can be deployed quickly.” When that is solved, Tesla will finally have its 4680 cells. According to Panasonic, that’s one year from now.


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