Tesla CEO Elon Musk, to achieve the sale of 20 million cars in 2030, or even the launch of RMB 25,000 affordable cars, a major key is to achieve groundbreaking battery technology and reduce battery costs.
To that end, Tesla has introduced the 4680 battery with larger cells and a new dry electrode coating technology. If all the potential efficiencies of the new cells are realized, the manufacturing cost of the 4680 battery pack for the Model Y will drop by $5,000 to $5,500 (about RMB 35,000 to RMB 38,000), or about half the cost of the 2170 pack, people familiar with the matter said.
Musk told shareholders this August that Tesla expects to achieve mass production of the 4680 battery by the end of this year. However, Stan Whittingham, co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery and 2019 Nobel laureate, believes Musk is too optimistic about the time frame for commercialization of this new technology
Tesla’s 4680 battery falls short of expectations on cost reduction
Experts say Tesla can currently only reduce the cost of the Model Y’s battery by $2,000 to $3,000 (about $14,000 to $20,000), about half of what Tesla expected when it introduced the 4680 battery two years ago. And, the cost reduction comes primarily from the new cell design, which is larger than the cells in Tesla’s existing 2170 battery. The key to Tesla’s cost reduction is the dry electrode coating technology, which Musk has called revolutionary but cannot be mass-produced.
Tesla can produce small quantities on the dry electrode coating technology, but when they start mass production, there are too many defective products, people familiar with the matter said. Production yields were so low that all the expected cost savings from the new process were wiped out. “They weren’t ready for mass production.” One expert said.