Tesla is showing impressive progress in ramping up production of 4680 battery cells. According to the company, 4680 production is no longer its bottleneck and it even has cells in stock in its warehouses. Tesla has achieved impressive success in technology development and manufacturing, without even being a company specializing exclusively in this.
During the Q4 2023 Earnings Call, Tesla quelled investor concerns that production of the 4680 battery cells was ramping up slowly. Tesla’s Vice President of Supply Chain, Karn Budhiraj, said the company even has enough cells in stock to supply vehicle production for several weeks:
“First, I just want to allay any concerns regarding 4680 limiting the Cybertruck ramp, because I’ve seen some people commenting about that. To date, 4680 production is ahead of the ramp with actually weeks of finished cell inventory. And the goal is to keep it that way, not only for Cyber, but for our future vehicle programs.”
Tesla has several lines to produce 4680 battery cells, but the company will add more in the third quarter of 2024. In addition, Tesla will also increase orders for 4680 cells from its suppliers as it intends to continue to ramp up production of vehicles using the new cell. At the moment, the company produces Cybertruck and Semi with the new battery cells. In the future, they will also be used for a new generation vehicle, the start of production of which is scheduled for 2025.
Budhiraj said that in Q4 2023, the company swapped the 4680 cell line for the Model Y into a line to produce 4680 cells for Cybertruck. The truck cells feature a new design that has a 10% higher energy density than the cells used previously. That was accomplished through process and mechanical design optimization, according to Tesla’s Senior VP for Powertrain and Energy Engineering, Drew Baglino, last year. In Q4 2023, Tesla teams collaborated closely to ensure the quality of the new design and the process changes as their first priority. Budhiraj emphasized that the company’s focus now returns to cost and production ramp in Q1 of this year.
The executive also provided some details about the current number of production lines and planned expansions. According to Budhiraj, Tesla is “currently running one production line, one assembly line, using two assembly lines in addition for yield and rate improvement trials.” The fourth line is at the commissioning stage, indicating really a large production scale. However, four more will be installed starting in Q3 2024, making this year a turning point in ramping up production of 4680 battery cells.