Tesla has announced important financial and production updates during the Q1 2022 earnings call, including new information about Giga Texas production.
In the Shareholder Deck document released after market close on April 20, the EV maker revealed plans to build Tesla Model Y vehicles at the Austin plant with both 4680 in-house made battery cells and non-structural battery packs with 2170 cells.
This is an interesting development, as Tesla previously suggested that Giga Texas would build Model Y EVs equipped with the structural battery packs featuring 4680 cells and didn't mention anything about making the version with 2170 batteries in Austin.
In April 2022, we began Model Y deliveries from our new factory in Austin, Texas. At our Cyber Rodeo opening party, we delivered the first vehicles with 4680 in-house made cells, single-piece front body castings and structural battery packs. This is an important milestone for our capacity growth efforts. Later this year, we expect Gigafactory Texas will be able to produce Model Ys using both structural packs with 4680 cells as well as non-structural packs with 2170 cells.
While Tesla did not go into details, the decision to build Model Ys with 2170 cells in Texas probably has something to do with logistics and satisfying the huge demand for its best-selling vehicle. The automaker is still working to ramp production of 4680 cells and likely cannot build Model Ys with the new cells fast enough.
Gallery: Tesla Giga Texas (Tesla Gigafactory 5)
This ties in with a tidbit of information that transpired at the Cyber Rodeo event earlier this month, namely that Giga Texas started production of entry-level Model Y Standard Range AWD models with 4680 cells. This variant features the smallest battery pack in the lineup with a reported but unconfirmed capacity of 68 kWh.
With 4680 cell production at Giga Texas in the early stages, it makes sense to build the base model first as it needs fewer cells, as that would enable Tesla to make more cars.
Meanwhile, there's no shortage of 2170 cells, with the Panasonic-supplied batteries still offering decent range and power. With Tesla vehicles in high demand, the automaker will take any opportunity it gets to build more cars, something that 2170 cells will allow it to do.
For now, the Giga Texas is the only factory building the Model Y with the new batteries. The 4680 structural pack reduces the number of parts used in the battery and the vehicle, which helps cut manufacturing costs.
In addition, the car gets lighter and offers improved crash performance as a result. According to Tesla, the structural battery pack reduces the size of the pack manufacturing line by half compared to the company's other factories.