Tesla is having trouble scaling the manufacturing process for its new 4680 cells. This battery format, which should help the American firm reduce costs and improve the performance of its electric vehicles, is giving more than one headache to manufacturers. due to some of the peculiarities of its design, which is why the company has been forced to turn to its Asian partners LG and Panasonic to ensure supply.
Apparently, the problem lies in the dry coating of the electrodes, a solution developed to make 4680 cells cheaper and reduce production times. Usually, the anode and cathode of lithium batteries are covered by a wet coating that must be dried before continuing with the manufacturing process, something that consumes time, space and energy.
Although Tesla already uses 4680 cells in some versions of the Model Y assembled at Giga Texas, the truth is that these batteries use the same wet coating that we can find in the already known cells 2170.
Dry coating is one of the key elements in making the production of the Cybertruck pick-up a success. Due to the difficulties described above, the company will be forced to turn to LG and Panasonic to ensure battery supply.
Tesla already uses 4680 cells in some versions of the Model Y made in Giga Texas
Although the use of 2170 cells in the first Cybertrucks has been studied, Finally, it has been decided to use a higher percentage of 4680 batteries of Asian origin. Thus, Tesla would have agreed to a significant increase in production with LG and Panasonic compared to the initial projections. While the former plans to manufacture them in Ochang (South Korea), the latter is already assembling them on a pilot line in Wakayama (Japan).
To advance dry coating technology, Tesla has entered into agreements with Ningbo Ebay New Energy and Suzhou Dongshan Precision Manufacturing; Furthermore, he has also established an alliance with L&F Co (South Korea) for the supply of cathodes with a high nickel content (more than 90%), a solution that will increase the energy density of the 4680 cells.
This movement would respond to the fact that the first generation 4680 cells built at the Tesla pilot plant in Fremont (California) have not reached their energy density targets. According to the manufacturer led by Elon Musk, the use of this format will not only increase the autonomy of its electric cars by 16%, but also reduce costs by 14%.
Source | Reuters