Tesla announced that it aims to start 4680 battery cell production at Gigafactory Texas this quarter and quickly ramp up to volume production by the end of the year.
Over the last few months, Tesla has been fairly quiet about the production of its new 4680 battery cell that enables its new structural battery pack design. This has been a concern for Tesla investors since the new battery technology is seen as critical to Tesla’s future vehicle programs.
The concerns grew larger as the automaker launched Model Y production at Gigafactory Berlin with the old architecture based on 2170 cells and after launching Model Y production at Gigafactory Texas with 4680 cells, it recently added the production of Model Y vehicles with the old architecture at the Austin factory also.
Everything pointed to Tesla having major issues ramping up production of the new and much bigger cell.
Much of Tesla’s conference call with analysts and shareholders for the release of its Q2 2022 financial results yesterday revolved around the 4680 cell. The automaker confirmed that it is having issues ironing out production processes for new technologies in the cell, including its dry electrode technology. Tesla wouldn’t confirm its current 4680 cell production rate, but it did confirm that it is still not enough to produce 1,000 vehicles per week, which would put the annual production capacity at less than 4 GWh, but it aims to achieve that “well before the end of the year.”
On the bright side, Drew Baglino, Tesla’s senior vice president, powertrain and energy engineering, confirmed that the automaker plans to officially start production of the 4680 cell at Gigafactory Texas this quarter:
Manufacturing lines were further integrated and we in-sourced additional content. For these reasons, there are some new ramp challenges to overcome in Texas and Berlin. Specific to Texas last quarter, cell equipment was fully installed and commissioned and we produced our first commissioning car sets of cells through the end of the line. Our target for Texas is to begin production this quarter and aim for Texas to be capable of exceeding Kato weekly output before the end of this year.
“Kato” refers to Tesla’s current pilot production factory for the 4680 cell on Kato Road in Fremont, California.
The fact that Tesla plans for 4680 cell production at Gigafactory Texas to exceed production from the Kato facility by the end of the year is particularly impressive, considering the automaker also disclosed today that production in Kato increased 35% month-over-month each month since March.
Tesla always meant to learn from the production at the pilot facility and deployed more advanced and higher volume production lines at both Gigafactory Texas and Gigafactory Berlin.
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Author: Fred Lambert