TruckElectric

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Tesla-structural-battery-pack.jpg


Electrek obtained the first picture of Tesla’s new structural battery pack with a honeycomb architecture that will power its future electric vehicles.

Tesla structural battery pack
At its Battery Day event last year, Tesla not only unveiled its new 4680 battery cell but also a new battery architecture built around the new cell.

Inspired by the aerospace innovation of building airplane wings as fuel tanks instead of building the fuel tanks inside the wings, Tesla decided to build a battery pack that acts as a body structure, linking the front and rear underbody parts.

Currently, Tesla builds battery packs by combining cells into modules, which when put together form a battery pack. That battery pack is installed into the vehicle platform.

The difference with this new concept is that Tesla is not using modules and instead builds the entire battery pack as the structural platform of the vehicle, with the battery cells helping solidifying the platform as one big unit.

Tesla-structural-battery-pack.gif

Using its expertise in giant casting parts, Tesla can connect a big single-piece rear and front underbody to this structural battery pack.

This new design reduces the number of parts, the total mass of the battery pack, and therefore enables Tesla to improve efficiency and ultimately the range of its electric vehicles.

The structural battery pack is expected to be first used in the Model Y that is going to be built at Gigafactory Berlin and in the new Model S Plaid.

The move is seen as bold in the industry since most electric car makers are trying to protect the battery pack while Tesla is planning to use it as an integral structural part of its electric vehicles.

First picture of the Tesla structural battery pack with honeycomb design
Electrek obtained the first picture of one of the very first structural battery packs ever produced by Tesla.

The image shows the battery pack without the new 4680 cells in them – showcasing the honeycomb design of the pack:

Tesla-honeycomb-structural-battery-pack-1.jpg

Without the cells, we can better appreciate the structural aspects of the honeycomb structure, which is known for its strength while also being lightweight.

It has already been used in aerospace and in the automotive industry – although not for the same use as Tesla.

The BMW i3 uses a hexagonal honeycomb structure for crash absorption around the vehicle’s battery pack.


BMW-i3-honeycomb.jpg


To complete the battery pack, Tesla would drop the 4680 battery cells into the holes and bound them to the pack to contribute to the structural integrity and power the electric vehicles.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk commented on the contribution of the cells to the structure:

Battery pack will be a bonded structure with cells providing shear transfer between steel upper & lower face sheets, eliminating most of the center body parts while providing better torsional rigidity & improved polar moment or inertia. This is a major breakthrough.
Some pointed out that while the benefits of this design are becoming obvious, it also complicates repairs in case of a crash.

However, Musk claims that Tesla designed crash absorption rails that can be cut off and repaired to preserve the packs.


SOURCE: ELECTREK
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Bigvbear

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The design is intriguing, but I also have to wonder if this is the beginning of the disposable car.

With most vehicles today there can be some reconstruction of the frame if something should become damaged in an accident. With the battery pack (arguably the most expensive part) exposed to said damage even a relatively minor accident would total the vehicle. Compound this with the one piece casing of the front and rear sections and it would be even worse for repair costs if you had to replace the entire assembly.

Ill give you an example, side impact in front of the rear wheel at 15 mph, on most vehilce replace the door and straighten the frame paint and repair is complete. On these if the battery pack is tweaked its replace it, unlikely it would be repaired. same with the one piece casting for the rear section.

I wonder what this will do to insurance rates.
 

TheLastStarfighter

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The design is intriguing, but I also have to wonder if this is the beginning of the disposable car.

With most vehicles today there can be some reconstruction of the frame if something should become damaged in an accident. With the battery pack (arguably the most expensive part) exposed to said damage even a relatively minor accident would total the vehicle. Compound this with the one piece casing of the front and rear sections and it would be even worse for repair costs if you had to replace the entire assembly.

Ill give you an example, side impact in front of the rear wheel at 15 mph, on most vehilce replace the door and straighten the frame paint and repair is complete. On these if the battery pack is tweaked its replace it, unlikely it would be repaired. same with the one piece casting for the rear section.

I wonder what this will do to insurance rates.
You don't "straighten the frame" and carry on if the impact has gone beyond the footprint of the wheels, which is what would be required to hit the battery cells. You would have completely scarified the integrity of the car. I was hit on the right side by a guy who didn't stop at a red two years ago. He was going about 60km, didn't break. Front panel and wheel had to be replaced. It would have taken massive impact to go beyond the wheel and into the center of the car. You get hit like that, you're getting a new car.
 

KrodEKid

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When I first heard about this at battery day I wasn't concerned about the life of the Cybertruck ,but the life of the battery. With it epoxied in to the frame if there's a battery failure then you have to scrap the whole frame or undergo expensive surgery to overhaul a battery. This is not likely a good value proposition for battery repairs. 🤔 Fortunately, Tesla has a good reputation for quality and long lasting batteries, but malfunctions and anomalies happen. It would stink if it happened to your battery. Tesla needs to back this up with better warrantees IMO
 

Eye of Elon

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The design is intriguing, but I also have to wonder if this is the beginning of the disposable car.

With most vehicles today there can be some reconstruction of the frame if something should become damaged in an accident. With the battery pack (arguably the most expensive part) exposed to said damage even a relatively minor accident would total the vehicle. Compound this with the one piece casing of the front and rear sections and it would be even worse for repair costs if you had to replace the entire assembly.

Ill give you an example, side impact in front of the rear wheel at 15 mph, on most vehilce replace the door and straighten the frame paint and repair is complete. On these if the battery pack is tweaked its replace it, unlikely it would be repaired. same with the one piece casting for the rear section.

I wonder what this will do to insurance rates.
Maybe only Tesla insurance will be affordable. All part of the master plan. 🤔
 

Frankenblob

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When I first heard about this at battery day I wasn't concerned about the life of the Cybertruck ,but the life of the battery. With it epoxied in to the frame if there's a battery failure then you have to scrap the whole frame or undergo expensive surgery to overhaul a battery. This is not likely a good value proposition for battery repairs. 🤔 Fortunately, Tesla has a good reputation for quality and long lasting batteries, but malfunctions and anomalies happen. It would stink if it happened to your battery. Tesla needs to back this up with better warrantees IMO
Interesting, 1-3-8 cells go bad then one needs to scrap the entire battery, such a waste.
I guess instead of epoxy, some other type of material should be used or an epoxy mold could be made and the batteries sit snugly therein yet removeable when needed.
 

OneLapper

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Well look at that.

This partially assembled battery module was designed by an ex Tesla battery engineer.


The 18650 cells pictured here are epoxied to an aluminum plate that acts as a heat sink. The cells are not removable.

Given that, there is no "fixing" a pack with a bad cell. The entire battery pack would need to be replaced. Or in the case of the CT, recycled.

I wonder how long this structural battery pack idea has been kicking around at Tesla.........

1CDD0FA8-90BF-47A1-99DE-E22D4AC4AA90.jpeg


AEB720CD-2AD8-4D7B-BEE2-09A3F623B0BD.jpeg


8B59A4CD-2FAA-4E81-821A-F8965D647B88.jpeg
 

Frankenblob

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Well look at that.

This partially assembled battery module was designed by an ex Tesla battery engineer.


The 18650 cells pictured here are epoxied to an aluminum plate that acts as a heat sink. The cells are not removable.

Given that, there is no "fixing" a pack with a bad cell. The entire battery pack would need to be replaced. Or in the case of the CT, recycled.

I wonder how long this structural battery pack idea has been kicking around at Tesla.........

1CDD0FA8-90BF-47A1-99DE-E22D4AC4AA90.jpeg


AEB720CD-2AD8-4D7B-BEE2-09A3F623B0BD.jpeg


8B59A4CD-2FAA-4E81-821A-F8965D647B88.jpeg
"Ex Tesla Engineer" and hopefully not employed elsewhere!
 

Newton

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I'm more interested in those castings. Looks like 1 piece got each front side 3 in the back?
 

DarinCT

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I don't see it that way. And by that, I'm being nice and really mean everything in that above-mentioned as it relates to a CT. For a S3XY unibody design this is new, cool stuff. For the CT, this is - and I could be wrong - never gonna happen. The forces on a S3XY unibody are fine for non-hauling, non-(heavy)-towing, non-off roading. That pack would crack or snap if put under the same forces a truck puts up with. There's a reason for box-on-frame. [There's also a reason some CUV/light trucks are going away from box-on-frame].

A CT will have the battery pack protected by the exoskeleton. I don't know if it'll be in or attached but the exoskeleton is there to protect the pack. How they'll address the kind of torsion rock crawling, flexion hauling produces, or other forces from towing are the kind of questions I'm curious about.
 

Jhodgesatmb

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The design is intriguing, but I also have to wonder if this is the beginning of the disposable car.

With most vehicles today there can be some reconstruction of the frame if something should become damaged in an accident. With the battery pack (arguably the most expensive part) exposed to said damage even a relatively minor accident would total the vehicle. Compound this with the one piece casing of the front and rear sections and it would be even worse for repair costs if you had to replace the entire assembly.

Ill give you an example, side impact in front of the rear wheel at 15 mph, on most vehilce replace the door and straighten the frame paint and repair is complete. On these if the battery pack is tweaked its replace it, unlikely it would be repaired. same with the one piece casting for the rear section.

I wonder what this will do to insurance rates.
We all worry about this. Simple solution, no accidents :)
 

FutureBoy

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The design is intriguing, but I also have to wonder if this is the beginning of the disposable car.
Looking at the solid plate honeycomb that the batteries get epoxied into, I’m thinking that it wouldn’t be a horrible job to replace individual batteries. Just take out the whole honeycomb piece. Then drill out the failed battery. If the drill bit is centered and the correct size, the old battery will get ripped out in recyclable pieces plus alittle bit of the epoxy. Then a new battery gets dropped in with a coat of epoxy. Once it is solidified, put the honeycomb back in the car and re-hook up the electrical connections.
 

Diehard

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Just take out the whole honeycomb piece.
I would be curious how easy or difficult that would be. The animation in OP gives me the impression that front and back cast is held together mainly by battery pack housing. If you have to reverse the car assembly to get to battery you may as well call an out of warrantee Tesla Totaled if the battery need work. I understand Tesla’s obsession with reducing manufacturing cost but I often wonder how much design capital goes to serviceability.
 

Newton

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Disposable car is a stretch, even if the battery fails, you can replace it for like 10k probably.

The 1st gen leafs had early battery failures. Cost about 5k to replace. The whole car wasnt trashed
 
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