Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson says calling Tesla’s 4680 battery cell a breakthrough is “fantasy”

Tesla 4680 battery production line

Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson is feeling pretty good about his EV company. Last month Lucid hit a major milestone by delivering their first vehicles that feature an industry-leading 520 mile (836km) range on a full charge.

That figure was achieved without a massive battery underneath the car, able to squeeze out the impressive range figure from a 118kWh pack for a best-in-class efficiency rating of 131MPGe.

That figure tops even Tesla, which until now has always held the title of most efficient EV.

Tesla will be hoping to reclaim that title with the release of their new 4680 battery cells that increases range, energy, and power, but are also cheaper to produce.

Many in the industry have said the 4680 is a breakthrough in battery technology, but not Rawlinson.

In an interview with IEEE Spectrum, the former Tesla employee says it might be a breakthrough in packaging, but calling it a huge breakthrough in technology is a fantasy.

“I do think there’s an upside to going to large format.” he says. “That would reduce internal resistance, and that’s a valuable step forward. But people are looking at 4680 as this huge breakthrough, and that’s a fantasy.”

Rawlinson even goes as far as to say that EVs of the future will likely have less range than those of today, and Tesla’s expansive Supercharger network will no longer be an advantage.

“50 or 60 years from now, EVs may actually have less range. Psychologically, there won’t be this sort of paranoia and dependence on a public supercharging network. And home charging is healthier for the battery, anyway.”

Tesla is still planning to have the first cars with 4680 battery cells roll off the production line next year.

Their pilot facility on Kato Rd has enough capacity to ramp Giga Texas Model Y production until they can get cell production setup at the new Gigafactory.

You can read the full interview with Rawlinson here.

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