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.
BREAKING: Tesla has removed the Model Y AWD variant from their US website. This means the Model Y now starts at $50,490 in the US (before incentives).— Sawyer Merritt (@SawyerMerritt) September 15, 2023
Tesla might be wanting to allocate this 4680 cells production capacity for the Cybertruck. pic.twitter.com/9p24gnlvAt