Tesla revealed in its Q4 2021 financial report that the Giga Austin plant in Texas started producing Model Y in late 2021.
We actually saw a report about the first car in August. More recently, multiple cars appeared in the parking lot, and some were even driving on public roads.
The brief info indicates that the launch is near, as the company mentioned the last stage of the process - the final certification:
"Builds of Model Ys started in late 2021 at Gigafactory Texas. After final certification of Austin-made Model Y, we plan to start deliveries to customers."
A new set of photos of the plant, includes a new manufacturing approach for the Made-in-Texas Tesla Model Y - a structural battery, on top of which Tesla attaches the seats, before the marriage process. Conventionally, the seats are inserted after the body is connected to the chassis, so this is a different way of doing things.
This new way of assembling cars was first highlighted at a demo display in Germany. As we understand, the new way is not only possible thanks to the structural battery, but also is expected to improve the assembly process (simplify and reduce costs).
Tobias Lindh, who performs drone flyovers of Giga Berlin plant, points out that the changes will concern not just the body, which will come with dashboard, but also interior parts that are attached before the marriage.
Gallery: Tesla 4680 Batteries
4680-type cylindrical cells
We therefore have confirmation that the Model Y launch is near, but how about the Tesla's 4680-type cylindrical cells? Are they inside the battery, or is it structural battery with 2170-type cells?
Well, the first indirect confirmation for the 4680-powered cars is that the manufacturer specifically said that the first cars from the Giga Berlin plant will be built using 2170 cells. There is no such info (or any info) about the battery in the part about the Giga Texas.
The second, stronger indication is the Q&A session, during which, Tesla's execs confirmed that the structural battery packs with 4680-type cells are assembled every day (at the Tesla's Kato pilot facility in California) and they are installed in vehicles in Texas.
The first vehicles powered by 4680-type batteries are expected to be delivered to customers before the end of this quarter.
In other words, the Tesla Model Y will be significantly upgraded over the current version, although we can't really say right now, how it will translate into performance, range and price.
Another thing is that Tesla has a backup plan to use 2170-type cells, and we can't exclude this version from the equation yet.
Here are a few latest videos from the Tesla Giga Austin: