Panasonic will power future Teslas with cylindrical battery cells that are significantly larger and have higher capacities

  • Panasonic has officially unveiled its 4680 cylindrical battery, which was first shown off at Tesla's Battery Day event last year and has been in development since then.
  • In comparison to Tesla's current lithium-ion batteries in the Model 3 and Model Y, which are also supplied by Panasonic, the Panasonic battery is expected to store five times as much energy and cost half as much to manufacture.
  • As part of the agreement, Panasonic will provide lithium-ion batteries for use in the Canoo Lifestyle Vehicle, which is the creation of an American startup that expects to begin production of the vehicle in late 2022.

Technology in the field of batteries is constantly evolving, and the most recent advancement comes from Panasonic, which unveiled a prototype of its new 4680 battery cell this week. According to Automotive News, the advanced-technology battery will be used to power future Tesla vehicles. The 4680 batteries will have five times the storage capacity of current Tesla battery packs and will be built for half the cost of current Tesla battery packs.

The 4680 battery is being introduced for the first time by Panasonic today. Tesla's earnings report, which was released earlier this month, stated that the company was testing battery packs made up of 4680 cells. Earlier this year, Panasonic completed the construction of a test line for the new format. The number 4680 refers to the battery's dimensions, which are 46 millimeters (1.6 inches) wide by 80 millimeters (3.1 inches) in height. With the new battery type, Tesla claims that battery production will more than triple by 2030, and that the new cell design will produce six times as much power as current cells by 2050.

Tesla is one of the few automakers that still uses cylindrical cells, and the increased energy capacity of the new 4680 cell isn't due to any magic; rather, it's due to the fact that it's significantly larger than the current Tesla cells. Compared to the current 2170 cells used in the Model 3 and Y battery packs, the 4680 is 5.5 times larger in terms of volume and 8.0 times larger in terms of capacity compared to the 18650 cells used in the Model S and Model X battery packs (the 18650 is slightly larger than a typical AA battery).

"We have developed this because of the strong desire of the other party," said Kazuo Tadanobu, the head of Panasonic's battery operations, during the meeting. "We believe that this will only lead to stronger ties." Currently, Panasonic has a battery manufacturing facility in Nevada that supplies batteries to the Tesla Gigafactory. In an article published by Electrek, Tesla claims that the first vehicles equipped with the 4680 battery cells will be delivered the following year. Tadanobu also stated that Panasonic does not intend to manufacture cheaper lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) batteries for Tesla's standard-range vehicles, despite the fact that the company's report stated that the company plans to begin using those batteries in its "standard range" vehicles around the world in the near future.

The Japanese electronics corporation, in addition to manufacturing the 4680 batteries for Tesla, will also supply batteries to the American electric startup Canoo, which recently announced a partnership with Panasonic. Those batteries will power the Lifestyle Vehicle, which is expected to go into production in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to Canoo, with Dutch contractor VDL Nedcar building it for the European and American markets. They chose the Panasonic batteries, which will not be in the Tesla-specific 4680 format, because of their proven reliability, according to Canoo. Canoo claims that its 80.0-kWh battery can provide a range of 250 miles, with the base panel van version starting at $34,750 and going up from there.

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