Tesla’s New 4680 Battery

(Last Updated On: August 30, 2023)

Last Updated on August 30, 2023 by tech pappy

One of the essential components in any battery-powered electric vehicle is the battery. Battery packs are equivalent to traditional cars’ engines—the better the engine, the greater the vehicle’s performance.

A better battery pack also means a higher-performing electric car. So it’s no wonder that any news concerning Tesla’s new 4680 battery would pique the interest of electric vehicle enthusiasts. The enthusiasm is heightened by Elon Musk’s announcement on Battery Day last year that the new 4680 cell-based battery pack will provide five times more energy, six times more power, and a 16 percent improvement in range.

Previous Tesla Battery Cells

But, before we can understand what Tesla is doing with their new 4680 battery pack and how it will dominate the electric car industry, let us take a brief look at prior and present battery cells.

Tesla uses it in its electric vehicles. Jeffrey Brian Straubel was the brains behind Tesla’s battery technology. Straubel graduated from Stanford University with a master’s degree in energy engineering and was always interested in batteries and energy storage systems.

He and Elon Musk initially met over lunch in 2003. Straubel expressed his goals of developing a lithium-ion battery pack that could travel 1000 miles on a single charge during the historic meal.

Elon was so captivated by Straubel’s goals and brilliance that he encouraged him to join his newly formed electric car firm, Tesla Motors. Straubel was Tesla’s sixth employee and a co-founder. Straubel would serve as Tesla’s chief technical officer for 15 years.

Straubel’s creativity and innovation contributed significantly to Tesla’s success. Straubel got right to work on building the battery pack that would be utilized by future Tesla vehicles when he initially joined.

Tesla's New 4680 Battery green and white plastic box

His goal was straightforward: he wanted something that would give Tesla electric vehicles a more extended range while being safe to operate and use. He invented the 18650 lithium cell.

It gets its name because the 18650 cell measures 18 millimeters in diameter and 65 millimeters in length. Straubel outlines his 18650 designs in a paper he wrote in 2006. We began our design by selecting a compact form factor battery set because of its modest size.

The cell has a finite supply of energy. If this cell fails, the effect will be far more negligible than expected from a cell several times bigger. Tesla’s first electric vehicle, the Roadster, was unveiled in 2008, and a 18650 battery powered it.

It had a range of around 245 miles on a single charge. This utterly astounded automaker across the world.

This type of range was previously unheard of in battery electric vehicles. That was back then. An utterly electric vehicle provided a substantial challenge to other automakers for the first time.

Furthermore, real-world performance testing revealed that its performance was equivalent to that of many gasoline-powered sports vehicles. The Roadster had a peak speed of 125 miles per hour and could accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than four seconds.

Tesla’s in-house creation of massive stacks of smaller cells made all of this feasible. Until the Tesla Model 3 was released, the 18650 fueled Tesla automobiles instead of making a few loud noises. Tesla has been utilizing the significantly bigger 21 millimeters wide and 70 millimeters long 2170 cells since then, and Tesla is now planning to switch to Tesla’s New 4680 Battery cells.

Elon Musk first revealed this cell during the Battery Day presentation last year. Elon had outstanding performance metrics to brag about from the outset. He stated it throughout the presentation. Tesla’s New 4680 Battery cell-based battery pack would provide five times more energy, six times more power, and a 16 percent improvement in range.

Tesla’s New 4680 Battery

So, how do the 4680 cells intend to live up to these expectations?

Tesla has made some fascinating design decisions. First, as the name suggests, the cell is more significant than Tesla’s previous two battery cells, measuring 46 millimeters in diameter and 18 millimeters in height. Tesla has elected to remain with its cylindrical cell shape.

This is in contrast to other electric car manufacturers that employ the rectangular cell pack. However, Tesla’s New 4680 Battery is more than a bigger version of the primary cells. Tesla has also upgraded the cell’s interior structure.

They employed laser-pattern shingles within the battery to shorten the electrons’ route and increase efficiency. According to Tesla, even though you have a giant cell, you have a battery with more power going in and out, resulting in a shorter charge time.

The electrical route has been cut in half. Reducing the electrical route increases the energy flow per second by five times.

Tesla's New 4680 Battery

This explains Tesla’s claim that their cells are five times more potent than earlier generations. Another significant design decision made by Tesla was using a tablet cell design. The cell tabs are small metallic components. It is adhered to the electrodes by welding. The most challenging aspect of cell manufacture is the production of tabs.

If done incorrectly, it can significantly impact the reliability and performance of cell manufacturers. Welding burs can separate the anode and cathode, resulting in a short circuit. Hence tabs do provide another point of failure to the cell.

Tesla is attempting to achieve the same typical tab functionality with its tablet design for Tesla’s New 4680 Battery by employing a conductive part that runs down the electrode by adopting this tablet’s design.

The height of the electrode is the maximum distance an electron should go. An electrode’s height is just 5 to 20% of its length rather than its length.

As a result, the ohmic resistance that the electrons meet and, as a result, the internally generated heat will be significantly decreased. Resistance has another significant advantage: the cells will create less heat due to the reduced resistance.

Another benefit is that the current is dispersed equally throughout the electrodes of the table. This decreases the possibility of localized hot areas with substantial overpotentials damaging the battery. So far, we’ve discussed shorter electrical lines, less heat generation, and avoiding the complexity of tab designs.

But, in the end, what does it all mean?

Consumers, Tesla drivers, are more concerned with the performance of their electric vehicles than with engineering creativity. Everything we’ve heard suggests that the Tesla 4680 will be a force to be reckoned with.

The new 4680 cells will enhance the automobiles’ power-to-weight ratio, expedite production procedures, and reduce manufacturing costs. A more excellent power-to-weight ratio indicates faster acceleration and more power at the driver’s disposal. The table’s design will enable Tesla to simplify its production process and eliminate points of failure in cell packs.

This also has the added benefit of lowering production costs. Tesla estimates that the battery pack and many other innovations may cut expenses by nearly half.

Tesla expects that the additional batteries will enable them to produce 25,000 Tesla automobiles. If Tesla is successful, it will go a long way toward making electric vehicles more inexpensive and accessible.

No electric vehicle manufacturer can get close to this pricing with present technology, but for the time being, Tesla intends to employ Tesla’s New 4680 Battery battery cell in their following automobiles.

Tesla Semi and Model Y have been operating a trial facility for the new battery cell in Fremont, where CEO Elon Musk has been leading, with a production capacity of 10 gigatonnes per hour by the end of 2021.

parked black vehicle during daytime

According to the financial statistics for the second quarter of 2021 given by Tesla, we have successfully proven the performance and longevity of Tesla’s New 4680 Battery cells produced at our Cato factory.

The state of California. At the Cato field, we are nearing the conclusion of manufacture and certification. Quality and yield have reached sustainable levels, and our focus is now on improving the 10% of manufacturing processes that are now bottlenecking production output.

While significant progress has been achieved, we still have a long way to go before achieving volume manufacturing. Our structural pack architecture with a single-piece front and casting has passed internal crash testing.

In short, Tesla has made tremendous progress since announcing the 4680 cells last year, but mass scale remains a challenge. Tesla had to postpone the launch of the 4680 by postponing the model s plaid plus, which would have been the first Tesla car to use the 4680 batteries.

However, after Tesla has scaled its battery manufacturing at the Cato site, they want to deploy large volume battery production at the gigafactory in Texas and the new gigafactory under construction in Berlin. Tesla expects to reach 100 gigatonnes per hour of battery output by 2023 and 3000 gigatonnes by 2030.

Tesla has distinguished itself from other electric car manufacturers by using unique battery technologies. One of the primary reasons is Tesla’s battery technology.

Tesla electric vehicles are trendy, and Tesla is now the market leader in the electric vehicle industry in the United States, with 4680 battery cells. Tesla intends to maintain its lead as additional automakers enter the electric vehicle market.

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