Tesla’s 4680 battery has suppliers battling for the contract of a lifetime

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Tesla’s 4680 battery has suppliers battling for the contract of a lifetime

Joey Klender

ByJoey KlenderPosted on July 13, 2021
Tesla’s 4680 battery cell has battery makers and suppliers battling for the contract of a lifetime, developing prototypes and samples of the cylindrical design in an effort to win a contract from the electric car company.

In 2020, Tesla unveiled the 4680 cell, a new battery that the company would begin implementing its vehicles. Not only did Tesla outline its 5x energy capacity, its 6x increase in power, and its 16% increase in range, but it also showed how the 4680 cells would be structurally integrated into its vehicles. The design would create a robust and more competent vehicle structure, adding to rigidity, safety, and overall strength for cars in the event of an accident.

However, the 4680 cell hasn’t been rolled out into vehicles quite yet, and Tesla is still loading up on the new batteries ahead of its initial installation into the company’s all-electric vehicles. While Tesla is producing the cell in-house at the Kato Road facility in Northern California, other cell manufacturers are creating prototypes of Tesla’s revolutionary cell, sparring for a chance to be offered a once-in-a-lifetime contract that would allow a company to produce the cell for the company’s vehicles.

According to a new report from The Korea Herald, battery suppliers are currently developing prototypes and testing them ahead of sending them to Tesla. The report states:

“Samsung SDI and LG Energy Solution have developed samples of cylindrical 4680 cells and are currently conducting various tests at their facilities to verify their structural integrity. Also, they have provided specifications of their 4680 cells to their vendors.”

While Tesla already depends on LG Chem, Panasonic, and CATL for its energy needs across the multiple regions where its vehicles are available, there is room for Samsung SDI to join the supply chain, officials say. Samsung reportedly linked up with Tesla in an over $400 million deal for cameras that will be equipped on the Cybertruck, sources reported yesterday. Samsung is also in the process of building its first battery cell plant in the United States, and a deal with Tesla for the 4680 cells would only improve the company’s situation as it expands into Tesla’s home country.

As previously mentioned, the 4680 cells are not currently being placed in vehicles by Tesla. However, the cells will be transported to Germany from the Kato Road facility for Model Y production at Giga Berlin. They will also likely be a part of the Model Y production at Giga Texas, which is slated to begin production by the end of the year, along with the German plant.

https://www.teslarati.com/tesla-4680-suppliers-contract-lg-chem-panasonic-samsung-catl/
 
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EV Battery Makers Are Competing For Tesla 4680 Cell Contract

Jul 14, 2021 at 8:53am ET
By: Steven Loveday

It's great that Tesla's 4680 battery cell is creating a buzz, but when is it coming?

Tesla announced the new 4680 battery cell at its Battery Day last year. The 4680 battery cell is supposed to be revolutionary, due to its energy density, low cost, and more. However, it may be a while before it comes to market. On the other hand, perhaps it will arrive sooner rather than later not since battery suppliers are competing with one another to get a 4680 contract from Tesla.

It comes as no surprise battery makers are racing to get a contract to produce and supply Tesla with these next-gen EV batteries. They're big news in the Tesla community, and fans and owners are waiting in anticipation of the new batteries arriving.

There's a good chance the upcoming Tesla Cybertruck and Semi may not be possible without 4680 cells. Some folks have speculated that the Model S Plaid+ was canceled since 4680 cells are still unavailable. This would mean the upcoming Tesla Roadster may need the new cells as well. Musk has promised the Model Y will use them, too, and we could see Model Y crossovers coming out of Texas (or even Berlin) by the end of the year.

According to a recent report from The Korea Herald, multiple battery manufacturers and suppliers are making 4680 prototypes to test and forward to Tesla. The article shares:

“Samsung SDI and LG Energy Solution have developed samples of cylindrical 4680 cells and are currently conducting various tests at their facilities to verify their structural integrity. Also, they have provided specifications of their 4680 cells to their vendors.”

Tesla plans to produce its own 4680 cells, and it already has a pilot facility that's producing them in small volume. Panasonic, Tesla's primary battery supplier and partner, is reportedly working on the 4680 cells as well. Tesla also gets battery cells from LG Chem and CATL.

The automaker has said that while it will make its own batteries, it will not hesitate to lean on suppliers. Demand for Tesla's vehicles is high and rising, so Tesla will arguably need all the battery cells it can get its hands on going forward.

At this point, it seems the issue isn't as much that the 4680 cells can't be produced, but rather, they're not yet available in large enough volume to begin putting into vehicles. Moreover, the testing process is likely extensive, and it wouldn't be wise for Tesla to start delivering cars with 4680 cells before the battery tech is proven safe.

When do you expect to see 4680 cells in Tesla's vehicles? Leave us your thought in the comment section below.

Source: The Korea Herald via Teslarati

https://insideevs.com/news/520142/tesla-4680-cell-battery-competition/
 
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Elon Musk's Table Salt Lithium Extraction Now Has A Tesla Patent

Jul 13, 2021 at 9:20am ET
By: Steven Loveday

https://insideevs.com/news/519914/musk-tesla-lithium-extraction-patent/

At Tesla's Battery Day event, Musk mentioned the process but provided few details.

Tesla's Battery Day last year was a huge moment for the company. Elon Musk and others talked about the company's future related to new battery tech. However, it didn't go over very well with the media since the plans were not going to impact the immediate present, but rather, they were future plans.

Tesla has already dealt with plenty of scrutiny as its Battery Day plans haven't yet fully materialized. However, prior to the event, Musk made it clear that the plans were for the future. On the other hand, he also seemed to promise the new 4680 cells in some upcoming vehicles, and now it appears those cells may not be ready for some time.

Regardless of what's happening with Tesla's 4680 cell timeline, a new patent just surfaced, and it was shared by Electrek. At the Battery Day event, Tesla showed a slide titled "Access Even More Lithium." On the slide, there was a mention of acid-free saline extraction. Musk talked briefly about "using table salt to basically extract lithium from ore."

Battery Day was really all about future savings related to batteries. It was noted that the extraction process could cut costs by over 30%. More specifically, Tesla's Senior Vice President of Engineering Drew Baglino said that Tesla has already developed this new extraction process and it could “result in a 33% reduction in lithium cost.“

Musk explained the process as follows via Electrek:

“What is the best way to take the ore and extract the lithium and do so in an environmentally-friendly way? We have been looking at from a first principle physic standpoint instead of just the way it has always been done. We found that we can actually use table salt, sodium chloride, to basically extract the lithium from the ore. Nobody has done this before to the best of my knowledge."
Electrek discovered a recent patent application that seems to refer to the same process, though it explains it all in much greater detail. The patent application is entitled “Selective extraction of lithium from clay minerals."

The patent addresses the main concerns and issues with the current extraction process and provides all the details about a method that is a potentially better option. Like most patent applications, it's wordy and difficult to follow unless this is a topic you fully understand. The abstract reads:

"Processes for extracting lithium from a clay mineral and compositions thereof are described. The extraction process includes providing a clay mineral comprising lithium, mixing a cation source with the clay mineral, performing a high-energy mill of the clay mineral, and performing a liquid leach to obtain a lithium rich leach solution."

You can read check out the entire application by following the link here.
 
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