Rumor Suggests Tesla’s Use Of 4416 Cells In Model 3, Next-Gen S, X – video

Tesla Model 3

JUL 25 2017 BY STEVEN LOVEDAY 81

Tesla Model 3

Elon Musk’s Tesla Model 3 – Serial Number 0001

Yet another rumor has surfaced surrounding the upcoming Tesla Model 3, and it suggests that new 4416 lithium-ion battery cells may be used in Tesla’s future fleet.

The rumors are flying even more now that we are days away from the final, official reveal of the Tesla Model 3. Dual charging ports, a credit card style key fob, and now more energy dense batteries?

Fortunately, we should have answers to all of these questions in a matter of days. Nonetheless it’s interesting to divulge in the speculating. According to Teslarati, Ben Sullins of Teslanomics was apprised of some significant inside information stating that Tesla has manufactured a larger (44mm in diameter and 160mm in height) battery cell that’s cylindrical in shape, and may be finding its way into the Model 3.

Tesla

Tesla Model S and Model X at the factory in Fremont, California

It’s been assumed all along that Tesla’s already new 2170 cells were to be used in the automaker’s hugely popular mass-market sedan. The “2170” cells (as called by Tesla) were initially being produced for Tesla Powerpacks and Powerwalls. The new cells are already more energy dense than the previous 18650 cells, which would allow the Model 3 batteries to offer a longer range while displacing the same space (higher Wh/kg) than that of the Model S and X. The potential for this technology to also make its way into Model S and X vehicles ups that ante.

…offer a longer range/more kWh in the same battery space of the Model S and X.”

This “news” comes on the heels of the recent announcement that Tesla is discontinuing the Model S 75. This is another of several steps Tesla seems to be taking to further separate the upcoming Model 3 from future Model S vehicles. Model S and X vehicles are surely due for a more substantial update in the near future, and the use of an even more dense battery cell could be the answer.

CEO Elon Musk Tweeted in the past that the Model 3 can only accommodate a 75 kWh battery pack, even though some assumed that there will eventually be a higher performance Model 3. He also made it clear — although wide speculation suggested that the 2170 cells would be utilized in the Model S and X at some point — that there were no future plans to use 2170s in those vehicles. Musk was careful to never say that there won’t be a more energy dense battery available for the Model 3, nor did he say that there wasn’t an additional technology that may make its way into future Model S and X vehicles.

Video (below): Ben discussing the tip in Monday’s Teslanomics Live News (from 14:05 mark).  

We aren’t sure we are on board with Ben’s assumptions of enhanced range predictions using this rumored new format, but a larger cell would 100% definitely be beneficial today in one area – cost, as getting down the sheer number of cells per kWh found in a Tesla battery pack would be a given to lower production expenses for the company.

Source: Teslarati

Categories: Battery Tech, Tesla

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81 Comments on "Rumor Suggests Tesla’s Use Of 4416 Cells In Model 3, Next-Gen S, X – video"

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As cells increase, the gap between the cells will increase, reducing overall spatial efficiency of the battery pack. It doesn’t make much sense to go with the much larger cell.

The packing fraction for cylinders is independent of their diameter, so no, it wouldn’t be worse.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circle_packing

The only problem is at the edges of the pack where larger cylinders might not be able to fill the space as efficiently as small ones. But that can be designed around, and despite some evidence to the contrary, I don’t think the people at Tesla are too dumb to manage that.

“The only problem is at the edges of the pack”

-Davek

…and since all packs have edges larger cells have less efficient packing density.

another reason this cell size makes no sense.

That’s not how math works.

Shouldn’t it be “44160”

“2170” is 21 mm diameter by 70 mm length, so “4416” would be 44 mm diameter by 16 mm length – a big button cell 🙂

Only if they feel the need to make it clear that the height is 16.0 mm instead of just 16 mm…..

“Tesla has manufactured a larger (44mm in diameter and 160mm in height)”

ops! My bad. I badly misread the article the first time. You are 100% correct.

But then they should be “44160” cells, not “4416” cells.

Seems to be piling error on top of error.

It should rather be 441600 by traditional naming standards. 😛

But yes, by Tesla standards it should definitely be 44160.

Would that really be 160mm (over 6″) in length?

Yea that sounds rather unrealistic. 16cm is way too high for a car to sit on it. The pack would still be nice as high, as on the Model 3. That just won’t fit.

The only way possible I can think of is laying them down, therefore having 44mm hight, or going away from the skateboard chassis. Both seem like rather complicated solutions.

*twice as high, not nice as high.

High is nice 😉

Was thinking the same, so maybe these big cells are for semi-truck.

Good call.

10 times the volume, less cooling needed and less energy used by the packs in a semi-truck.

It would be interesting to see all the calculations regarding how that will affect things… but without doing any of those it seems like a very interesting idea for semi-trucks.

+1
Yes to the Semi Truck

Rich,

or power packs?

Absolutely
Could be the power packs as well.

Maybe this is a test of an 800V pack? (to be used in future Tesla vehicles)

You don’t need bigger cells for an 800V pack.

Don’t “need”, but it may be a better design. Once the design criteria change, the design may change. I have to think Tesla is thinking about the future of 800V 350kW chargers, since one was already installed in the US.

Yea, but that could easily be done with today’s cell format. The difficulty is getting 350kW into the cells.

Voltage and current are more of a wiring, pack and charger issue. Still very important, but not linked with the individual cells.

I’m no power expert but I would think that lots of small cells charged in parallel would yield faster charge times and they can be combines in serial and parallel to make whatever voltage / current they want.

“The new cells are already more energy dense than the previous 18650 cells, which would make the Model 3 batteries offer a longer range/kWh than that of the Model S and X.”

Umm, no it wouldn’t… Unless that “/” is just rhetorical (replacing an “and” or an “or”) and you’re not actually saying more km/kWh. The only thing that will increase that is better vehicle efficiency through lower drag and the like.

Also, what’s meant by higher energy density? Sure, the cells are larger and thus contain more energy, but volumetrically or by mass there wouldn’t really be a significant difference. Aside from maybe just having proportionally less casing material wasting space in your pack. But that’s got to be a small effect. I think the main advantage from a manufacturer’s standpoint would probably be simplified assembly, since you don’t have to physically hook as many cells together to build your pack. But otherwise I think this article sells the supposed advantage of these poorly named cells all wrong. For claims like “higher energy density” it would be nice to see some numbers or at least some more detailed reasoning.

“The only thing that will increase that is better vehicle efficiency through lower drag and the like.”
———-
If you watch the video, that is what he is implying. The new cells will weigh less and provide the same kWh, thus increasing efficiency. Weight does have some affect, but not nearly as much as aero, though.

Davek,

Good catch, I think Steve was going for that, but it got a little confusing. Anyway, changed the story to be more clear “…which would allow the Model 3 batteries to offer a longer range while displacing the same space (higher Wh/kg) than that of the Model S and X”

/fixed

If you are talking about the space they use you should refer to Wh/l instead. It doesn’t make much difference with similar cell chemistry, though.

yea Davek,
this business about the 2170’s being more energy dense than the 90 kwh 18650’s is just not verified by Tesla. Yes you can find quotes from Musk saying they will be but that was before the introduction of the 90 kwh version on the Model S where Tesla introduced the anodes with more Silicon in them.

The 2170 form factor was chosen by Tesla engineers as the best fit for their needs. And Tesla does have patents related to the internal design of cells.

Improved chemistry isn’t the only way to improve energy density in a battery. The internal design is also important.

All things considered, it would be very surprising if the 2170 cells did not offer some advantage other than merely lower cost to Tesla. The 18650 form factor wasn’t designed specifically for EVs, but the 2170 is. Altho I regard as a rumor the claim that the “can” for the 2170 form factor (the cylindrical sleeve on the outside of the battery) wastes less of the space inside than the 18650 does, it wouldn’t surprise me if this is true. And if it’s true, that alone would be sufficient to improve energy density.

“Also, what’s meant by higher energy density? Sure, the cells are larger and thus contain more energy, but volumetrically or by mass there wouldn’t really be a significant difference.”

The increased energy density comes from improved chemistry. Both Elon and JB Straubel (Tesla’s CTO) have stated this, so it’s not just a rumor. What is just a rumor is the claim that the casing of the 2170 cell wastes less space than casing of the old 18650 cells. But if that’s true, that would also increase the energy density.

PMPU,

We already had this discussion and the quotes you have are from before the silicone anodes were introduced in the 90S and X cars. IMO the 2170’s don’t have improved chemistry or improved electrodes over and above what is in the 18650’s in the 90 kwh MS and X. ….but I’m not opposed to changing my opinion if you have something new to convince me.

but your info on the rumor that the can is more space efficient is an interesting one.

Yes, okay, you’re making the same argument I’ve made in the past: We can be sure that the 2170 cells have improved energy density as compared to the cells used when the Model S was new. But what we can not be sure of, and what there has been a lot of argument over, is whether or not the 2170 cells have better energy density than what Tesla is now using in the Model S and Model X packs.

That claim of 35% improvement in energy density for 2170 cells may refer to a comparison with the 18650 cells Tesla was using in 2012, when the Model S was put into production.

My guess is that Tesla and Panasonic have used the opportunity of designing a new form factor to more efficiently use the space inside, rearranging or redesigning the size and shape of the components to improve energy density… altho it seems rather unlikely they could get a 35% improvement from that alone.

But that’s just my guess.

From a thermal standpoint, the problem I see with further increases in cell diameter is that the cell volume, energy, and power capacity (and heat dissipation requirements) go up with the square of the diameter, but the surface area available to conduct generated heat from the cell casing to the cooling system only increases in direct proportion to the diameter. The cell will get hotter.

For larger cells, either the battery chemistry must become even more efficient with lower internal resistance or the architecture has to shift to a more thermally-conductive-friendly format like pouch cells.

Thinking out loud, but I wonder if it’s possible to make hexagonal cells to provide the best density, and also a very strong shape structurally. They could make the centers hollow for cooling.

Imagine this pic, but each hexagon has a small hollow core.

Theoretically yes, but the manufacturing process (winding) will be slower -> more expensive and the cell will have higher degradation due to tension on the folds/edges.

If you make the shape hexagonal so they fit together tightly but then have to put a large hole in the center to allow cooling, have you really improved anything?

All else being equal, a cylindrical shape is stronger than a hexagonal one.

Yes, a cylinder will be slightly stronger, but you get the close-packing with the hexagons. Maybe they can come up w/a better way to cool, like a cooling plate below.

Just make them square at that point. That’s what everyone else does. It works great.

HVACman,
yes, one more reason this rumor makes no sense.

The thermal problem is especially relevant for high performance cars and fast charging. Here you need better cooling. So Tesla may develop cheaper, more efficient larger battery cells, but will use them in the cheaper cars.
What happens when you double the capacity but the volume stays the same, can been seen in the new ZOE R90/X90 battery. Fast charging hardly reaches the 43kW maximum, compared to the Q210. You don’t fool physics. Cheap price, high capacity and cooling are paired mutually exclusive to the third.
There must be always a compromise.

Yes.

Here’s an excellent analogy… while the “leaner” dinosaurs were able to run around wherever they wanted, the larger dinosaurs like Brontosaurus were confined to lakes, where they could keep cool. Their large size tended to trap heat.

What a BS. The “leak” was about the number of cells in the pack, not the format. Cells are (pretty) regular 21700 (called for short by EM 2170).
The real number of cells is almost right. Two first digits are correct, two last – not so.

Yea seems way more realistic, than some weird giganto cell.

But how would you know the last two digits aren’t? I sure hope you have more than back of the napkin math…

What’s wrong with the last two digits?
4416 = 96 * 46

4411 / 11 = 401

Thanks, Q.

That sounds much more plausible than the idea Tesla is changing to some weird form factor battery.

fasterthanonecanimagine

Astonishing for how long they could keep this secret (if true). Less leaky than the White House 🙂

The last paragraph appears to not be accurate. In a story you guys reported (http://insideevs.com/tesla-confirms-2170-cell-model-s-x-end-year/) Musk said he expected an eventual transition of the S and X to 2170 cells. I would assume this occurs when the GF is sufficiently ramped and the Model 3 supply is taken care of.

Apparently–missed that one–thx

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Fleet = Semi Trucks

Yada, yada… Will we get a battery temperature gauge?

I thought so 🙁

There are people getting it via special phone apps. Turns out to be somewhat boring and meets what they expected. The average joe mass production oriented by doesn’t need this.

Yeah, that’s TM-Spy hooked up to the diag. port under the MCU. That not only gives you the voltage [mV] of each cell group, it also gives you in the input and the output temperature of each module so you know whether it is being heated or cooled.

Knowing the battery temperate is important as it determines the behavior of the car, how much regen. and propulsion power is available, how fast the battery will charge, whether the HVAC and cooling fans are going bonkers, whether the car is using power to heat the battery, etc.

So tell me, with this giant 17″ why can’t we have a simple battery temp. gauge? Why can’t we have access to the MCU diagnostic screens? No one will force you look at them if you don’t want, but many of us do, we paid a lot of money for this car.

Scott, vdiv,
I had a situation where I wanted battery temp.

I was in 100+ temps on a trip to Barstow from AZ. Cab temp went way up for some reason the cooling system was diverting all cooling to the bat. I know the car would have probably shut down but it would have been nice to have the instrumentation to monitor.

it never shut down the car luckily I made it to Barstow.

“dual charging ports” – did I miss something? Confirmation of a CCS port on the right side?

mustang,
yeh I don’t remember an article on that and I just googled it and didn’t find anything.

Baseless conjecture by a guy who runs a YouTube vlog. Based on a single-source tip someone gave him that magically confirmed his other suspicions.

He also believes Tesla will offer the S/X with 100/200 kWh batteries, which Musk flat out denied previously.

In my view Ben is quite a serious guy, although I agree with you his up to 200KWH pack guessing for future Model S&X refresh in this video is not very serious. Still we’re all missing the real Tesla Superchargers v3 story after which Porsche 350KW/800V Chargers will be for Children toys per Elon recent tweet. There has to be a huge battery change planned to accomodate this, and this 4416 cell may be it. May only be used for a later Higher than 75KWH capacity battery option for Model 3, say 100KWH, or even to reduce weight now on 75KWH pack for Model 3 to improve range and allow faster charges too, and in the same time help current Model S & X refresh with same weight loss on 100KWH packs, enable them for SC v3 full speed charging, and eventually increase Capacity to 120 or 130KWH on Performance Models S & X tomorrow too. We’re missing key bits here. Hope more reveals on Friday Model 3 event…

Meh. This rumor is definitely not going to come to fruition. Too many reasons it doesn’t make sense.

Perhaps Tesla is planning to use a different type of cell for the 12v starter battery, but it seems extremely unlikely they will be using anything but the 2170 cells from the Gigafactory in the Model 3. Tesla has spend years developing the 2170 cells in concert with Panasonic, and they are spending billions of dollars to build Gigafactory 1 to produce them.

If Gigafactory 1 was going to produce a different type of cell to put into the Model 3’s battery pack, then I think we would have heard about it long before now.

It may be that Tesla will be using different cells for some specialized purpose. Maybe they’re going to replace the 12v starter battery with a small pack of these 4416 cells?

I’m going to assume this is a rumor unless and until we hear more on the subject.

Totally Agree.
B.S. Rumor
Vlogging for referral credits.

That’d be a pretty quick changeover after making the 2170. But it’s not impossible.

But yes, over time Tesla will use larger cells because larger cells mean a better cell to cell casing ratio. That means better space (and weight) efficiency.

Tesla only used 18650 cells initially because they had no money and no credibility to convince manufacturers to make other kinds of cells. 18650s were their only logical choice for the Roadster.

18650s and cylinders haven’t been their best move for years. They will move away as rapidly as Musk can be convinced that something Tesla does is actually worse than how others do it.

We’re headed down that path now with the 2170 and Tesla will go further. They will eventually catch up on cell tech to other EV companies.

unlucky said: “But yes, over time Tesla will use larger cells because larger cells mean a better cell to cell casing ratio. That means better space (and weight) efficiency.” No. Larger cells absolutely do not mean better space (and weight) efficiency. As Davek already (correctly) stated in this very discussion thread: “The packing fraction for cylinders is independent of their diameter”. Using larger cells does mean lower assembly costs, but other auto makers using larger cells have found that in practice, they don’t work out so well. For one thing, larger cells mean they have to use lower energy density to avoid overheating inside each individual cell. “Tesla only used 18650 cells initially because they had no money and no credibility to convince manufacturers to make other kinds of cells. 18650s were their only logical choice for the Roadster.” Wow, that’s not just a glass-half-empty way of looking at things, it’s about glass-nine-tenths-empty! The idea the founders of Tesla (Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, not that other guy) had was to use relatively cheap commodity li-ion batteries to put a compelling electric car into production. They planned to use the fact that battery prices keep falling year-on-year to gradually introduce… Read more »

Seems there is confusion here. I think this rumor is about the number of 2170 cells inside the Model 3 pack, not some large cell size.

A single 2170 cell has about 1.465 times more volume than an 18650 cell. An 18650 cell has about 3.18 amp-hours of capacity with a nominal voltage of 3.6v. I’d expect the 2170 cell to have about 4.65Ah per cell due to it’s larger size.

Doing a little math we get:

4.65Ah * 3.6v * 4416 cells/pack = 74kWh.

So 4416 cells per pack sounds very realistic for a 74 or 75 kWh pack.

Nice! sounds plausible to me.

I concur !

I’ve tested recent packs at 3.4Ah so that puts a 2170 at around 5.0Ah with scaling. Total capacity would be just under 80kWh, usable energy of 75kWh which is also reasonable.

Delete this whole article and post this – this is the correct answer, it has nothing to do with the size of the cells.

4416/96 = 46

96 = number of cells in series in current cars, so if you want to keep the same voltage to use the same components you use this number – i.e. 4416 being divisible by 96 is not a coincidence.

96 x 4.1V = 393V peak
96 x 3.65V = 350V nominal
These are right in the correct range for the current generation of EVs and specifically Teslas.

4.65Ah is probably still just a guess as I have yet to see it published, but not a bad one.

In other words – what he said!

Exactly. 96 * 46, as I said above, or 96S46P in packspeak. All Tesla packs are 96S, so they can use the same inverters, motors, etc. over multiple models. The 90 kWh pack was 96S74P, the 100 kWh is 96S84P, etc.

BTW, the original lithium tZero and the Tesla Roadster were 99S69P for 6,831 cells. Not sure why AC Propulsion chose such oddball numbers.

That seems like a pretty likely explanation.

This would have to be the optional pack though. Not the $35K pack.

If this is true then Ben Sullins just royally screwed up. He should have questioned or verified the basis of what his “source” was telling him.

This wouldn’t suprise me at all given his multiple foul-ups on basic and widely accessible information during his new LIVE videos. The guy should stick to pre-recorded videos and thoroughly researching his information before broadcasting.

Then again, he’s getting more and more shares, likes and subscribers with this BS…. not to mention links from major EV reporting websites… sad reflection of the current business model of youtubing.

“Seems there is confusion here. I think this rumor is about the number of 2170 cells inside the Model 3 pack, not some large cell size.”

Yeah, I think that’s far more likely than what this article claims. And we can see how this misinformation can have come about even if nobody intended to create “fake news”. It’s just another “game of telephone” like we all played as kids.

Person A says to B: “The Model 3 will use 4416 cells,” meaning 4416 of the type 2170 cells.

But person B be thinks that means someone else, so B says to C: “The Model 3 will use type 4416 cells.”

So person C says to D (or rather, person C makes a video and posts it to YouTube saying): “Tesla is using a different type of cell in the Model 3, not 2170 cells!”

How about 44mm x 16mm .. means 4.4cm x 1.6 cm ? Very wide but very short, … So they can be better cooled by interleaving more layers of passive cooling plates vertically in each pack, so the pack can charge much faster … when attached to next gen SuperChargers v3 at 500KW or even 600KW, making new Porsche 350KW/800V SuperChargers only good for children toys when available (Dixit Elon) ? Dividing by 4 or more the time to Supercharge, up to 15 x days per year in my case, when on long vacation trips of typically 1000km/day on southern Europe motorways at 130km/h, with all family and luggage on board, in the middle of nowhere… That would really be cool !! Remember also the quote of Tesla Canadian batteries Guru, very few months ago, saying he had found an electrolyte doper that doubles the life cycles of Tesla Batteries, first saying that was already used in some Tesla Batteries in production at GigaFactory, then correcting and saying it was not yet in any, including 2170 used for PowerWall2 and likely also the new different one designed for Model 3. So they may have kept that new longer life cycles… Read more »

WTF? LOL Who is going to read this word salad?

Are you guys sure that it isn’t the quantity of cells not the size of the cells that was being discussed?

Cells: Is there anyway to use bigger cells and in between the gaps, use a smaller cell so that all space is used efficiently and more electricity can be stored. Just a weird thought.

What about the prismatic cells that VW and others were talking about.

A battery maker could easily make batteries in a shape allowing them to be packed tightly. Just make them square in cross-section, or rectangular, or hexagonal.

Boeing used large-format li-ion cells that are rectangular in cross-section, and packed them tightly together, in the Dreamliner’s battery pack. That’s one reason why they had multiple battery fires in early Dreamliner test flights. Contrariwise, Tesla designs their packs for safety by using smaller cells and leaving space between those cells to allow heat to escape.

Bottom line: Space between cylindrical li-ion cells isn’t “wasted”, it’s necessary. Perhaps future cells, such as solid state li-ion cells, won’t overheat during rapid charging, and perhaps it will be possible to pack those in tightly together. For now, Tesla’s design seems best.