Tesla 4680 battery cell: LG & Samsung reportedly produced samples as they eye big contract

LG Energy Solutions and Samsung SDI have both reportedly completed the first sample cells of Tesla’s 4680 battery cell as they eye a big contract from the automaker.

Last year, Tesla unveiled its plan to produce its own new tabless battery cell in a bigger format with a new chemistry.

The automaker claims to have solved some major issues that were preventing the industry from producing bigger cylindrical Li-ion cells in a new format called 4680.

Tesla’s new 4680 battery cells have the potential to be cheaper, more efficient, and, therefore, enable a longer range or smaller battery packs.

The automaker had to develop new manufacturing processes to make the battery cell and deploy those at scale in its own new battery factories being built near Berlin, Shanghai, and Austin.

On top of those in-house production plans, Tesla is also partnering with current battery suppliers to deploy their own production of the new 4680 cell.

Four of the world’s biggest battery suppliers, Panasonic, LG Energy Solutions, CATL, and Samsun SDI, have all announced plans to build those 4680 cells for Tesla.

Now, a new report from The Korea Herald, a publication based in Korea, where both LG and Samsung are also based, suggests that both battery manufacturers have completed the first sample cells of Tesla’s 4680 battery cell.

A “high-ranking industry official” told the publication:

“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,”

Both manufacturing giants are reportedly trying to secure large contracts to supply those cells for Tesla’s upcoming electric vehicle programs.

Samsung’s timeline to bring the new battery cell to production is unclear, but LG has indicated plans to reach mass production as soon as 2023, which would be shortly after Tesla’s own production.

The first cells are expected to power an updated version of the Model Y with a structural battery pack.

Going directly from cell to pack should enable higher efficiency and, therefore, more range with fewer cells.

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