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Tesla's 4680 Cell Development Is What Is Holding Back All Its Other Goals

A while ago, some websites said that the Tesla Semi would be in production soon. What these guys miss is that such rumors are equivalent to saying a building will be built without its foundation. In Tesla’s case, the foundation corresponds to 4680 cells, and the company said at the Q2 2020 presentation – once again – that its teams “still have work ahead” before they “can achieve volume production.”
Tesla Q2 2021 Financial Results Pictures 8 photos
Tesla Q2 2021 Financial ResultsTesla Giga Austin With Model Y BIW Missing Structural Battery PackTesla Giga AustinTesla Giga AustinTesla Giga GruenheideTesla Giga GruenheideTesla Giga Shanghai
Tesla clearly jumped the gun when it decided to base all its future products on the 4680 cells. The Cybertruck, Semi, Roadster, and the Model Y made in Austin and Grünheide will all use a structural battery pack made with these batteries. To use them as the foundation of these products, Tesla had to be sure they would be available in a timely manner.

At the Q2 2020 financial results presentation, the company said it “successfully validated performance and lifetime” of the 4680 cells made in Kato and that “internal crash testing” of the “structural pack architecture with a single-piece front casting has been successful.” That is precisely what is missing in the picture above, which shows the Model Y that will be made at Giga Austin.

According to Tesla, production is currently bottlenecked by “10% of manufacturing processes.” Specialists believe that has to do with DBE (dry battery electrode), something Tesla bought Maxwell for back in February 2019. Tesla now announced on July 22 it sold Maxwell but kept its dry electrode tech.

Regardless of whether that’s what is holding back the 4680 cells or not, Tesla admits they are not ready yet. Considering that all its future vehicles depend on those batteries to proceed, all plans are on hold. Producing the Semi, Cybertruck, Roadster, and Model Y and putting Giga Austin and Giga Grünheide to work in 2021 fundamentally rely on the new batteries.

In a way, it may be convenient that German bureaucracy is still denying Tesla a final build permit for its factory there. That sort of distraction may lead people to think that the main problem is external to Tesla. Running before you can walk only works if you have feet. In Tesla’s case, the 4680 batteries.

 
 
 
 
 

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