4680 Battery: Everything You Need to Know

History of Tesla batteries

The following is a comparison table of battery specifications, parameters and performance used by Tesla:

Battery modelCapacity(Ah)Energy Density(Wh/kg)Nominal voltage(V) Maximum charge/discharge rate
18650 type2.5-3.0128-2603.6-3.72C/3C
2170 type4.0-5.0240-2743.63C
4680 type26272-2963.7-3.85C/4C

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As can be seen from the table, the capacity and energy density of the cell are gradually increased, while the charge and discharge efficiency and the maximum charge and discharge rate are also improved.

This table lists three different cell sizes: 18650, 2170, and 4680, The 18650 battery is Tesla’s earliest battery specification, the 2170 battery is the battery specification used in the Model 3 electric vehicle, and the 4680 battery is the new generation battery specification introduced by Tesla in 2020 for new models such as the Model Y and Cybertruck.

Major New Tesla 4680 Battery Update (Video from the Internet, in case of infringement, please contact to delete)

What is a Tesla 4680 battery?

The so-called 4680 battery refers to a cylindrical battery with a diameter of 46 mm and a height of 80 mm, which was officially announced by Tesla on Battery Day in 2020, and officially began mass production and loading of vehicles this year, and is one of the development directions of major battery manufacturers in the future.

Battery Cell Type4680
Cell size46mm x 80mm
Capacity26.136 Ah (Estimated)
Nominal Voltage3.7V
Nominal Energy96-99 Wh (assuming at 3.7-3.8 V)
energy density272-296 Wh/kg
Mass0.355kg
CathodeNCM 811
anodeGraphite, dry battery electrode technology
Tabbed / Tablesstabless design

Cathode material: NCM ternary lithium is the mainstream

Related Article: Anode vs Cathode

Tesla obviously realized a long time ago that who has the most reliable battery technology, then who has mastered the core of future new energy vehicles, so Tesla acquired Maxwell, the world’s leading battery technology company, as early as 2019, and used the dry electrode technology it developed for the manufacturing of a new generation of 4680 batteries.

What is so special about 4680 battery?

Tabless cells

In the process of lithium-ion batteries from 18650 to 21700, the battery energy density increased by 20%. Elon Musk said the team found after research that the diameter of 46mm is the most suitable size for electricity storage, and the battery is large, heat spontaneous combustion becomes a problem. The Tesla 4680 battery innovatively removes the heat-producing tab from the battery, which is the Tabless 4680 cells.

The head of Tesla’s battery team said that this technology is to fold the pole tab into a tabless pole. Compared with the battery with the pole tab, the flow distance will be shorter, and there is no problem of overheating. In this process, the engineering team has made a lot of efforts, so the current earless battery has been formed, and the performance and thermal management optimization have been greatly improved.

Dry Electrode Coating Technology

In the cell manufacturing and production process, the Dry Electrode Coating Technology completely abandoned the wet coating and drying process of the existing power battery electrode sheet manufacturing, without solvent recovery device, can reduce the production cost by 18%, reduce the investment cost by more than 34%, and reduce the electrode production area by more than 70%.

Advantages of Dry Electrode Coating Technology

  1. Simple process and cost savings: No solvent is used, eliminating the need for expensive coating machines.
  2. Improve production efficiency: Dry electrode technology increases production speed to seven times the previous. The production density is increased by 16 times, and the cost is reduced by 10%-20% compared with the wet electrode technology.
  3. Increase the battery energy density: in the case of solvents, lithium and carbon mixed with lithium metal do not integrate well with each other, and there is a problem of first cycle capacity loss, dry battery technology will greatly improve this problem, so as to increase the battery energy density.
  4. Extended battery life: Improves battery durability and doubles battery life
  5. High compatibility with industry trends (solvent-free, drillless, next generation materials, solid state batteries) & environmental protection.

Why is 4680 battery better? Will 4680 batteries make Tesla cheaper?

Compared with 21700, 4680 battery has achieved a new breakthrough in terms of specifications, cost, safety, and service life: the driving range has been increased by 16%, the charging and discharging power has been increased by 6 times, the capacity has been increased by 5 times, and the kilowatt-hour cost can be reduced by 14%.

If Tesla’s dry technology once fully breakthrough. Then in the design of the battery cell, the high-nickel and high-silicon material route can be realized, with a 54% increase in mileage, a 56% reduction in production cost per kWh, and a 69% reduction in investment cost per GWh, Tesla will likely become the world’s most advanced battery manufacturer, they will have the best power combination of batteries, the cheapest energy density of the battery, and the battery. And they are able to scale more easily than any other battery manufacturer.

This means that the 4680 battery can be mass-produced and loaded, so Tesla will undoubtedly have more operating space and market initiative. So in the future, Tesla still has a wide range of room to reduce prices.

Will 4680 batteries be LFP?

At present, from the respective announcement situation, the closest to the degree of commercialization or Panasonic, the use of positive electrode is also high nickel ternary. This point and Tesla and Ganfeng Lithium Company signed a three-year lithium hydroxide contract at the beginning of the month, plus high nickel ternary is also consistent, but this does not mean that high nickel ternary is the only choice for 4680 batteries.

First of all, since this year, Tesla has repeatedly announced in a high-profile manner that it will gradually use lithium iron phosphate batteries in the future, and even proposed that Tesla’s standard life upgraded version of Model3 and standard life version of ModelY will use lithium iron phosphate batteries to replace the previous ternary lithium batteries, so Tesla will not easily give up lithium iron phosphate batteries.

The two generations of batteries 21700 and 18650 are ternary lithium batteries, and they are all provided by the old battery manufacturer Panasonic, so they are considered to be ternary lithium batteries. However, as China’s excellent battery manufacturers are expected to enter the competition of 4680 batteries, the production of lithium iron phosphate version of 4680 batteries is also very possible.

Who manufactures 4680 cells?

Tesla Giga Texas 4680 Battery Production Update | New Equipment! (Video from the Internet, in case of infringement, please contact to delete)

Although large cylinders are not the mainstream of new energy vehicles, according to incomplete statistics, since the technical route of Tesla’s official 4680 cylinder battery in 2020, there have been BMW, Volvo, Stellantis, NIO, Dayun, JAC, Porsche, Lantu and other domestic and foreign manufacturers have announced that their Car models will support 4680 batteries. This phenomenon is similar to that when Apple released the iPhone, major mobile phone manufacturers piled into the smartphone market.

Power battery manufacturers have also laid out 4680 batteries. CATL, EVE, Envision AESC and other domestic manufacturers have won a lot of 4680 battery orders, LG New Energy, Panasonic, Samsung SDI, and other foreign leaders are also stepping up the layout of the 4680 battery production line.

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