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Tesla Scraps 4680-Cell Model Y AWD, Allegedly To Save Cells for Cybertruck Production

Tesla fans noticed that the base-version Model Y AWD has mysteriously disappeared from Tesla's US website. Built with a 4680-cell structural battery, the Model Y AWD was likely sacrificed to redirect the 4680-cell supply to Cybertruck production.
Tesla Model Y AWD built with 4680 cells has been discontinued 6 photos
Photo: @brandenflasch via X
Tesla Model Y AWD in US inventoryTesla Design Studio2023 Tesla Model Y2023 Tesla Model Y2023 Tesla Model Y
With the Cybertruck start of deliveries fast approaching, Tesla is likely to need all the 4680 cells it can produce. Tesla kept quiet about its progress on the battery front, which makes me suspect there's not much it can brag about. The EV maker poured significant resources into the development, although the results are underwhelming. Not only the production of 4680 cells is insignificant, but the cells are still inferior to the trusted 2170 cells used in other Tesla models.

Tesla designed the Cybertruck to use 4680 cells in its structural battery pack, and not having enough of them is a serious issue. I can confidently say that the new cells are the most important reason the Cybertruck production has been delayed. As Tesla improved its 4680-cell manufacturing process and performance, it became more confident that it could launch the Cybertruck by the end of this year.

The Model Y AWD was the only Tesla model using the 4680 cells, and reports showed that its battery was still not on par with 2170-based models. The 4680 cells charge slower and are less energy-dense than their counterparts. That's why Tesla sold the Model Y AWD with these cells as a base version, with a retail price of $47,740. The lower price was its most important quality, although the same 4680 cells that contributed to this also brought to its demise.

As Tesla prepared to start Cybertruck deliveries, the Model Y AWD competed with the Cybertruck for the 4680-cell supply. Because the Model Y AWD mysteriously vanished from Tesla's US website, it's clear that the Cybertruck won. The most affordable Model Y you can configure in the US right now is the Long Range variant, retailing for $50,490 before incentives.

Tesla launched the AWD Model Y with 4680 cells as an inventory-only model in April 2022 and only added it to its Design Studio this April. Its career was brief, as Tesla removed it after only five months. That is unless it continues to supply the 4680-cell Model Y AWD through inventory, as it did in the beginning.

The base model built with 4680 cells can still be ordered from inventory, with hundreds of units still available at the time of writing. Tesla is also keen on getting rid of them as soon as possible because they are sold with a hefty discount of $4,000-$5,000, depending on the configuration. If you want to get one while stock still lasts, this is your last opportunity.

Although some claim the Tesla Model Y AWD was sacrificed to stock the 4680-cell production for the Cybertruck, this might not be the case. During the second-quarter earnings call in July, Tesla's VP for powertrain and energy engineering, Drew Baglino, said that Tesla will use second-generation 4680 cells for the Cybertruck with improved specifications. This indicates that the cells built into the Model Y would not make it into the Cybertruck. Unless Tesla is really desperate and the yields are abysmal.

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About the author: Cristian Agatie
Cristian Agatie profile photo

After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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