Tesla revealed a few more tech details about its eagerly anticipated Cybertruck electric pickup truck on the Q2 earnings call with investors yesterday.
One of them – and likely the most important – is that the Cybertruck will get a newer, more energy-dense version of Tesla's 4680 cells that already power a version of the Model Y made at Gigafactory Texas.
"Here in Texas we're preparing to launch our Cybertruck cell, which has 10% higher energy density than current production," said Tesla's senior VP for powertrain and energy engineering Drew Baglino, according to Green Car Reports. "That was accomplished through process and mechanical design optimization."
This is a big thing considering that existing 4680 cells are comparable in energy density to the 2170 cells currently used by most Tesla models. A 10 percent optimization is significant, and it's also worth noting that Tesla has been reportedly working on a high-nickel version of the 4680 cells.
Does the boost in 4680 cell energy density mean the Cybertruck will offer more range? Possibly, although it could also allow Tesla to offer a slightly more compact battery pack offering the same range as a battery with lower energy density. Either way, Tesla hasn't yet disclosed how the gain in energy density will benefit the consumer.
There was more good news regarding Tesla's 4680 batteries. Drew Baglino said Tesla's cell production at the Texas plant increased 80 percent in the second quarter of 2023 over the first, thanks to "notable progress" on yield improvement of the 4680 cell production lines.
Tesla also mentioned a 25-percent reduction in cell COGS (cost of goods sold), likely thanks to lower raw material costs. Furthermore, Baglino reminded Tesla investors that the 4680 team in Austin passed 10 million production cells made in Texas last month.
In 2020, CEO Elon Musk unveiled a plan to build Tesla's own EV batteries called "4680" cells. But the automaker has so far struggled to meet Musk's targets for production and performance of the cells.
Things appear to be on the right track as Tesla continues to work towards achieving the goal set at its 2020 Battery Day event, namely to cut its battery cell cost in half in the long run, partly by successfully implementing the new 4680 cell format.
Back to the Cybertruck, which Tesla claims has started initial production at Giga Texas last week, its powertrain specifications and prices remain unknown. The automaker maintains that initial deliveries will start this year.