The recently unveiled Tesla 4680 high-energy nickel batteries have been deployed and utilized for months by working vehicles of the company long before it was announced by CEO Elon Musk, according to a new report.
The information came from the horse's mouth over the weekend when he was asked by one of his followers about Tesla's strategy with cathodes and its suppliers. In his response, the CEO mentioned that the 4680 battery cells are already powering some of its vehicles. However, Musk clarified that prototypes running on 4680 cells are trivial and far simpler than actual volume production.
The Tesla CEO also said that the company is only producing cells that feature high-energy nickel cathodes at the moment. During the company's Battery Day, the CEO shared one of its long-term goals for sustainable energy storage. It also revealed its plan of powering energy-hungry vehicles like the Semi and the Tesla Cybertruck with bigger and wider Tesla 4680 high-energy batteries.
The CEO, however, did not confirm if the Cybertruck and Semi prototypes on road tests across the country are now running on 4680 battery cells. Musk would like to speed up the company's path to sustainable energy and transport by developing high-energy cells with lesser or no cobalt, especially for vehicles that require more juice. Equipping the Semi and Cybertruck with tesla 4680 battery cells would be strategic, according to Teslarati.
The site claims that these vehicles are heavy-duty and are designed to be as tough as possible. The high-energy 4680 nickel battery cells on these vehicles could be the company's trump card against its rivals, the site speculates. For the uninitiated, the Tesla 4680 battery cells are high-nickel-based cells.
Suppliers. We’re only doing high energy nickel ourselves, at least for now. Also, maybe the presentation wasn’t clear that we’ve actually had our cells in packs driving cars for several months. Prototypes are trivial, volume production is hard. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 26, 2020
Based on the hierarchy, the iron-based battery on vehicles characterizes long battery life. Meanwhile, nickel and manganese-based cells offer long-range qualities while high-nickel batteries are designed for mass sensitive and heavy-duty vehicles. Larger 4680 battery cells would allow tesla to create more battery capacity into the same space of the current Tesla 2170 pack.
Tesla Battery Day starts now! — Tesla (@Tesla) September 22, 2020
Auto Engineer Sandy Munro shared a video about the tesla 4680 battery cells. According to him, Tesla could almost double the battery capacity even if it uses the same chemistry as that found in 2170 cells. Apart from this, Munro believes that the company would achieve other efficiencies, especially in the new 4680 battery cell production.
Tesla would need less steel for the cell packs. Also, the company would no longer need cooling components between cells because the new Tesla 4680 battery cells use tables technology.