During Tesla's recent 2021 earnings call, CEO Elon Musk said the automaker is already producing Model Y crossovers with 4680 battery cells, which Tesla has been making in-house and stockpiling. The brand has also placed a huge order for the cells with Panasonic, and the battery maker plans to test production and prioritize the EV maker when it comes to manufacturing.
There have been many indications that Tesla may not be ready to produce vehicles with its new structural battery packs and 4680 cells for a long time. However, Musk said during the earnings call that Model Y crossovers built at the new Gigafactory in Texas will have both the structural pack and the cells. Musk shared via Teslarati:
“So in Texas, we’re building the Model Ys with the structural battery pack and the 4680 cells, and we’ll start delivering after final certification of the vehicle, which should be fairly soon.”
Senior Vice President of Powertrain and Energy Engineering Drew Baglino reiterated Musk's comments and went so far as to say that Tesla has been producing 4680 cells and structural battery packs on a daily basis. He also said he's been personally driving a Model Y with the new battery tech, and he's confident Tesla will begin delivering these vehicles during Q1 2022.
Tesla appears to have enough of its own in-house 4680 cells to begin and sustain production. However, with the demand for its vehicles, along with plans to eventually bring the Cybertruck to market, it's going to need a huge influx of these cells going forward. It comes as no surprise Tesla is leaning on its primary battery supplier Panasonic for help.
Panasonic has already made it public that it's working on 4680 cells. In addition, the battery maker already announced that it will supply Tesla with the cells starting next year.
That said, a recent report published by Bloomberg reveals that Panasonic already has a large order for the cells from Tesla, and it's going to begin production for testing. Moreover, Panasonic plans to prioritize the manufacturing of these cells for Tesla once it's ready to deliver them. Panasonic CFO Hirokazu Umeda said:
“Tesla has put in an extremely strong request for the 4680, so when we are actually able to deliver the 4680, we plan to put top priority on Tesla. We’ll first prioritize supplying Tesla once the verifications are complete.”