Tesla has unveiled its latest structural battery pack with 4680 cells during a Gigafactory Berlin tour ahead of Model Y production at the new factory.
The start of production at Gigafactory Berlin is not just significant for Tesla’s growth in Europe, but it will also mark the launch of an important new version of the Model Y. Tesla plans to build the new Model Y at Gigafactory Berlin on a whole new platform with its structural battery pack.
Earlier this year, Electrek obtained the first image of a Tesla structural battery pack prototype.
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 are put together to 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 is instead building the entire battery pack as the structural platform of the vehicle, with the battery cells helping to solidify the platform as one big unit.
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.
Now at its Gigafest, a sort of country fair at Gigafactory Berlin, Tesla unveiled the latest version of the structural battery pack.
Here’s the first time we get to see the pack with the single front and single rear cast parts:
What’s impressive is that this relatively simple platform of just three parts – a battery pack and two large cast pieces – is responsible for a large part of the whole vehicle.
Tesla also showed a cutaway of the structural battery pack showing the 4680 battery cells in it (via Paul Kelly):
Tesla also showed the seat mounting bracket directly on the battery pack:
During a presentation, Tesla said that it will be able to mount the seats directly on it and lower the body around them, which is going to greatly simplify the assembly process.
All these manufacturing improvements put together are expected to significantly improve the cost and efficiency of the Model Y.
At the event, Musk said that Tesla is currently aiming to start Model Y production at Gigafactory Berlin next month.
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