Tesla celebrates a milestone of producing one million 4680-type cylindrical lithium-ion battery cells.
The company shared a tweet with an image of employees in front of Tesla's Kato Road pilot facility in Fremont, California on Friday, but the milestone was achieved in January.
"Celebrating our one millionth 4680 cell in January"
As we understand, the company has produced 1 million cells cumulatively since 2020, but it's unknown what the production rate was at the time and where it stands currently in the second half of February 2022.
The 4680-type cylindrical cells (combined with a structural battery pack) will be used in new electric vehicles from Tesla, starting with the Made-in-Texas (MIT) Model Y.
Recently, more than 100 MIT Tesla Model Y were seen at the plant, potentially ready for deliveries, although it's not clear yet whether the manufacturer completed the certification. According to the Q4 2021 report, the MIT Model Y is expected to enter the market before the end of this quarter.
According to the latest flyover videos at the Tesla Giga Austin plant in Texas, roughly half of the 100+ fleet has been transported, but we don't know the destination:
According to Tesla's Battery Day event in September 2020, the new cell format, combined with a structural battery pack, is expected to bring significant improvements in many areas, even without applying any new lithium-ion chemistry.
The physically bigger cells should store five times more energy than the currently used 2170-type cells. It means that the number of new cells will be five times lower, assuming the same capacity.
Assuming 4416 2170-type cells in a Tesla Model Y Long Range, the MIT Model Y might get the same capacity using less than 900 4860-type cells.
Actually, the reduction in the cell number might be even higher, because the higher overall energy density of the battery system might allow achieving the same range with a smaller battery pack capacity.
Tesla does not reveal any spec details about the MIT Model Y so we can't say anything for sure.
Nonetheless, 1 million cells (probably under 100 MWh total), should easily last for about 1,000 MIT cars. To ramp up the production in Texas, Tesla will have to produce them at a much higher scale.
The pilot site in California was expected (in 2020) to be able to scale up to 10 GWh annually in 2021 (which did not happen). Together with other locations (in Texas and later in Germany) the production was expected to reach 100 GWh annually (twice more than the Gigafactory 1 in Nevada) in 2022, but also this number sounds now way too optimistic.