Sandy explains the difference in cylindrical, prismatic and pouch cells.
Sandy Munro is back with his latest Tesla Model Y tear down video, and this time he not only dissects the Y, but he also explains the difference in cylindrical, prismatic, and pouch cells used in electric car batteries.
As good as all of Munro's Model Y videos have been, this might be my personal favorite because he gives a side by side comparison of the battery cells Tesla uses, with those used in electric vehicles made by other companies. We get to see what BMW uses in the BMW i3, and what GM uses in the Chevy Bolt EV.
Sandy starts off by showing how similar the Model Y's battery pack is to the Model 3's. He notes that both cars have 4,416 battery cells in their respective battery packs. Tesla uses small, cylindrical 2170 cells for both the Model 3 and Model Y, however, they are actually slightly larger than the ones they use for the Model S and Model X. The cells in the Model Y are called "2170" because they measure 21 mm in width and 70 mm in length.
Munro explains that Tesla connects 46 cells into what they call a "brick". The Model 3 and Model Y both have 96 bricks in their pack (46 x 96 = 4,416 total cells). Lithium-ion batteries have many different cell compositions, and he explains that Tesla uses nickel cobalt aluminum (NCA) cells.
We then get a look at batteries used in EVs from a few other OEMs. Sandy shows us the BMW i3's prismatic cells made by Samsung SDI and explains how BMW heats and cools the battery pack.
Sitting on the table next to the i3's battery, Munro has the Chevy Bolt EV's battery. GM uses pouch cells made by LG Chem, and Sandy explains that the pouch cell format is the most expensive format of the three, because of its complexity. However, he also notes that the pouch-cell format is currently the most-used format so the extra cost cannot be that significant since so many companies have selected to use them.
Tesla's battery pack, in using the small cylindrical cells is the most efficient as far as space and weight are concerned, and they also provide better pack density. As with many of Munro's findings in the Model Y teardown, he appeared to be very impressed with Tesla's battery pack and seems to indicate, without saying it directly, that Tesla's battery tech is definitely the market leader.