its price could drop drastically in the coming months

With 4680 cells, Tesla could drop the Model Y price by $5,500. But not everything is so simple and does not go as planned.

Tesla Model Y Wall Connector
A Tesla Model Y charging on the Tesla wall connector // Source: Tesla

The road to making the Tesla Model Y the best-selling car in the world is still long. And that will come with a big drop in price thanks to the 4680 cell technology in the batteries. But faced with some production problems, they take longer than expected to arrive.

If you didn’t already know, the most expensive part of an electric car is its battery. The technologies concerning them are evolving at high speed, the aim obviously being to make them more efficient, but also less expensive. And this is one of the key positions for Elon Musk to make his Tesla Model Y the best-selling car in the world.

A Model Y at 45,000 euros?

A few days ago, Tesla introduced the cheapest version of the SUV, which surprisingly turned out to be cheaper than an equivalent Model 3 sedan. If the price of 47,990 euros in France is canon (without option, bonus of 2000 euros deducted), it must be said that it could have been even lower!

And that according to some experts, it is still possible to make lower the price of the car by $5,500. And this thanks to the new battery cells, the famous 4680.

Tesla 4680 Battery
Tesla 4680 Battery

Just to put into context, on a Model Y at 49,990 euros, the battery alone is worth 19,920 euros. That is nearly 40% of the total price. Thanks to the new 4680 cells – whose production has started – which are larger, and to a new industrialization process, Tesla could halve the cost of a Model Y battery.

Some experts quoted by Reuters explain that this would save up to 8% on the price the lowest in the United States. Yes, but a Model Y at 45,990 euros, however, is not for tomorrow.

A difficult launch

For now, the biggest challenge is the industrialization of these batteries. Indeed, the 4680 cells require a dry coating of the electrodes, as opposed to the wet coating which was used until then. And the technique at the moment is not yet proven.

So production cannot follow for the moment, since at the end of July, the manufacturer was producing enough to equip only 1,000 cars per week against a car production of around 35,000 units per week. Therefore, Tesla would only be halfway to the point where the savings really kick in.

Reuters spoke to twelve experts, nine of whom are very close to Tesla, and three had access to the assembly of the new batteries and were able to compare this new technology with current or past technologies.

And according to them, Elon Musk was a little optimistic in August when he announced that large volumes of 4680 batteries would be reached as early as the end of 2022. So, 2023 would probably be more realistic.

Tesla Model Y Austin Gigafactory
The Tesla Model Y manufactured at the Gigafactory in Austin, Texas // Source: Tesla

In the secret of the 4680

Without going into too much detail, Tesla’s current batteries have 2170 cells. The 4680s are much larger, 5.5 times. This obviously allows to have much less, and therefore also to limit the manufacturing steps.

Since we’re in numbers, the 2170 batteries needed 4,400 cells (in a Model Y), and 17,600 solder points (or four per cell). Where the new 4680 battery pack has only 830 cells and 1660 solder points. Hence the savings.

Tesla Battery Day
The Roadrunner project finally unveiled!

The 4680 battery needed to cross a course

If Elon Musk recently said that 4680 cell batteries would not be needed to achieve his sales targets this year, on the other hand, he will indeed need them to reach a new milestone in production, the same way it will need the Giga Press in the Model Y chassis manufacturing process.

For the moment, the latter is only used for the rear part, but the front part of the Model Y must wait for the 4680 to make it a structural pack allowing to connect the front and the rear of the chassis.

While the Cybertruck is just waiting for those 4680 batteries to go further, the upcoming and highly anticipated $25,000 Model 2 will also need them to bring the cost down as much as possible. And who knows, reaching the goal of selling 20 million cars in 2030?

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