Working in partnership with Panasonic, Tesla is about to equip the cars in the range with a new generation of Li-ion batteries, slightly cheaper to produce and able to deliver 20% more autonomy than those currently used.
According to industry sources, Panasonic will start series production for the new generation of Li-ion batteries from next year. From a constructive point of view, these are 4680 (46mm x 80mm) format cells, twice as large as the current generation but with up to 5 times more capacity per unit. Thus, Tesla will be able to make battery packs with fewer cells, but more capacity. At the same time, the complexity of the battery pack will decrease, implicitly its price. The same sources show that the range of the long-range version of the Tesla Model S will increase from 650km to 750km.
It remains to be seen whether the estimated cost reduction of 10% -20% for the manufacture of the new Li-ion cells will be found in the final price of the cars, or Tesla will opt instead to increase the profit achieved. In reality, the savings for Tesla could be even higher, up to 30% if you keep the current autonomy unchanged (you can get the same autonomy by installing up to 20% less Li-ion cells).
Panasonic, the main supplier of Tesla’s more expensive models, is investing about $ 704 million in installing new battery-powered equipment at its plant in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. According to officially unconfirmed information, only this plant will have sufficient production capacity to equip 150,000 electric vehicles annually. Panasonic could produce small batches of the new generation of batteries as early as March of this year, in order to facilitate the testing and validation of the technologies used before the official debut.
In addition to using Panasonic-powered batteries, Tesla intends to develop its own internal solutions, reducing dependence on external partners. However, Elon Musk said in September 2021 that he would increase purchases of batteries provided by Panasonic, LG Chem and CATL, while warning of “significant shortcomings” in 2022 and beyond, which could only be addressed through its own factories. of batteries.