Tesla seems to be doing what it can to ensure that its 4680 battery cell production efforts are as supported as possible. To accomplish this, Tesla is reportedly recruiting materials suppliers from Asia in a bid to lower the cost and increase the energy of its next-generation batteries.
Tesla’s 4680 battery cells are crucial for the company’s future in the automotive sector. Announced during Battery Day in September 2020, Tesla’s 4680 cells are expected to pave the way for a 50% cost reduction in cell cost through several innovations, such as a dry electrode coating process. The ramp of the battery cell, however, has proven challenging.
Citing people reportedly familiar with the matter, Reuters noted that Tesla has now tapped China’s Ningbo Ronbay New Energy and Suzhou Dongshan Precision Manufacturing to help optimize the costs of 4680 battery cell production in the United States. The details of the deal, however, have not been shared as of writing.
Considering recent reports about Tesla and its battery strategy, the electric vehicle maker’s collaboration with Ningbo and Suzhou is not that surprising at all. Previously, reports have emerged stating that Tesla had signed a deal with South Korea’s L&F Co to supply high-nickel cathodes to the company. The high-nickel cathodes are expected to increase the energy density of the 4680 cells, one of the publication’s sources noted.
Apart from this, longtime battery suppliers such as Japan’s Panasonic and South Korea’s LG Energy Solution are also contributing to the electric vehicle maker’s battery ramp by producing the cells themselves. Panasonic is currently running a pilot line for 4680 cells at its Wakayama factory. LG, on the other hand, has noted that it is looking to open a 4680 battery cell production line at its Ochang factory in the second half of 2023.
The publication’s sources stated that Tesla’s strategy is an insurance policy of sorts to ensure the production of 4680 vehicles. One of Reuters’ sources also stated that LG and Panasonic are expected to supply the battery cells for the Cybertruck. Elon Musk, for his part, mentioned last October during the Q3 2022 earnings call that Cybertruck production would not be dependent on 4680 cells, which hinted that the all-electric pickup truck could be initially launched with 2170 cells.