A new teardown of the battery cells in 7 electric cars resulted in showing that Tesla still dominates electric car batteries, but it’s getting closer.
The electric vehicle market is maturing and many automakers are starting to settle with similar battery chemistries.
Several battery cell manufacturers are emerging as leaders, like Panasonic, LG Chem, Samsung SDI, and CATL.
However, automakers do contribute to the development of specific chemistries for their vehicles resulting in carmakers often using different variants.
UBS decided to teardown cells from Tesla and its suppliers, as well as those for Volkswagen, General Motors, Toyota, BMW, and more.
They concluded that Tesla still has the lead, but it is getting closer (via Business Insider):
“While Tesla continues to lead with the best overall powertrain technology,” the analysts wrote in an October note, “the cost lead in battery cells is minor by now and will depend on its new proprietary cell design in the future.”
Tesla recently revealed this new proprietary battery cell, the ‘4680’, which is much bigger than what is currently used in the industry.
Bigger cells have thermal issues, but Tesla got around that by solving the tabless cell design.
The Tesla 4680 won’t make it into vehicles until next year starting with the Model Y produced at Tesla Gigafactory Berlin.
UBS sees Volkswagen as second to Tesla when it comes to battery cells:
“Tesla will likely remain the cost and technology benchmark for several more years, and Volkswagen is the fastest follower on a global scale. Its €33bn committed EV investments of over a 5-year period are still unmatched.”
Volkswagen has battery cell supply deals with several of the previously mentioned battery manufacturers, but it has also been going deeper than most other automakers in batteries with investments and joint-ventures with NorthVolt and QuantumScape.
They are all racing to reduce costs while improving performance in their battery cells.
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