Panasonic Working on Upgraded 2170 Battery Cell Set to Boost Tesla Model 3/Y Affordability

Panasonic is gearing up to unveil an upgraded version of the 2170 battery cell, which could help reduce the price of Tesla’s Model 3 and Model Y.

According to Shoichiro Watanabe, Panasonic’s Chief Technology Officer for EV batteries, the upgraded 2170 cells are expected to enter production either later this year or in 2025. These cells will be produced at Giga Nevada, a facility jointly operated with Tesla. In an interview with Bloomberg, Watanabe says this new iteration of batteries promises improved energy density, which could lead to a reduction in the overall cost of Tesla’s EVs.

The 2170 battery cell is a type of lithium-ion battery used by Tesla in its most popular EVs, the Model 3 and Model Y, as well as some of the company’s energy storage products. The name “2170” refers to the physical dimensions of the cell: 21 millimeters in diameter and 70 millimeters in length. This design makes the 2170 cell larger than the previous 18650 cells used by Tesla (18 mm in diameter and 65 mm in length), which were a standard in the industry for many years, and still used in the Model S and Model X.

To help meet the demands of Tesla, Watanabe emphasized Panasonic’s strategy is to increase battery capacity and enhance productivity simultaneously. This approach aims to optimize manufacturing without the immediate need for new factories or significant investments. By the fiscal year 2025, Panasonic targets a 10% increase in manufacturing capacity through more efficient use of existing systems.

Panasonic is keeping with its long-term goal of quadrupling production capacity from the current 50 gigawatt-hours (GWh) to 200 GWh by 2030, but that will require building new production facilities. The Japanese tech giant is already building its second U.S. plant in Kansas and plans to announce a third plant’s location by the end of March.

Panasonic isn’t focusing all of their efforts on the the 2170 cells. The company is also developing Tesla’s 4680 cells and another, as yet undisclosed, battery type described as “thicker and bulkier.”

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