Tesla recently announced an intention to use its all-new 4680-type cylindrical battery cells in battery energy storage systems (BESS), like the Megapack, Powerpack, or maybe even Powerwall.
The new type of cell is currently used only in the Tesla Model Y produced in Texas (at least some of them, as the factory also makes cars powered by 2170-type cells).
It's an interesting thing, because as far as we know, the current Tesla in-house 4680 cells are based on the NCM 811 cathode chemistry, while in the case of BESS, the company would like to make a transition from NCA/NCM to Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) battery chemistry.
If we understand it correctly, the next generation energy storage systems from Tesla would be LFP, but in a 4680 cell format. Otherwise, if Tesla would stick with the NCA or NCM, then there would be no transition to LFP. The third scenario is a mix of products - 4680-type cells (NCA/NCM) in some products, and prismatic LFP cells in some products.
The news was shared by the way of the announcement of the new $3.6 billion investment at the Tesla Giga Nevada, which will bring 100 gigawatt-hours (GWh) battery cell production (4680-type) to the factory. The plant already produces 37+ GWh of 2170-type cells annually (in partnership with Panasonic).
Tesla Giga Nevada: Expansion Plans
Tesla Giga Texas: 4680-type battery cell production (Tesla Q4 2022 report)
100 GWh is a massive amount of batteries. Tesla estimates that it's enough for 1.5 million light-duty vehicles.
On the other hand, if the company plans to produce up to 50,000 Tesla Semi per year (at some point in the future), and one truck requires up to 900-1,000 kWh of batteries (in the 500-mile range version), then we are talking about 50 GWh/year for the Semi alone.
The remaining 50 GWh/year might be used for local production of battery energy storage systems. Tesla will also require 40 GWh of batteries for its new Megapack factory in Lathrop, California.
In the long-term, the Giga Nevada plant might produce up to 500 GWh of 4680-type battery cells (it would require further investments), while the company would be at 1,000 GWh/year globally. Tesla's CEO Elon Musk hints that maybe it will even reach 2,000-3,000 GWh/year annually someday (excluding external suppliers).
Tesla Giga Nevada phase two investment:
- $3.6 billion
- 4680-type cylindrical battery cell production
100 GWh/year initially (up to 500 GWh/year in the future)
- Tesla Semi production
- 3,000 additional jobs
The plant is already producing 2170-type cylindrical battery cells (in partnership with Panasonic) at around 37+ GWh/year, battery modules and packs, energy storage products, and drive units/power electronics.
So far, the plant produced 7.3 billion battery cells, 1.5 million EV battery packs, 3.6 million drive units, and 1 million energy storage modules (14+ GWh).
Tesla Giga Nevada phase one investment:
- $6.2 billion
- 5.4 million square feet facility
- 11,000 employees