Cybertruck production ramp gets a 4680 battery factory boost by LG in Arizona
Instead of helping Tesla and its other electric vehicle maker customers with 2170 type batteries, as originally planned, LG will use its Arizona factory expansion plans to make 4680 batteries of the type Tesla uses for the Model Y or the upcoming Cybertruck.
The announcement came during LG Energy Solution's Q3 results release and LG says it changed tack because it envisions much larger future demand for 4680 batteries than the 2170 cells Tesla still uses for the Model Y and Model 3.
"To pre-emptively respond to market demands for 46-Series, the company modified its original plan for the facility, which was to produce 2170 cells at an annual production capacity of 27GWh, and instead will produce 46-Series at an expanded annual capacity of 36GWh," informed LG.
LG also signed an EV battery partnership with Toyota, but it is for pouch-type cells while for now, those "market demands" for the 4680 battery in North America would mainly be coming from Tesla. It has to reach a Cybertruck production rate of 250,000 unit a year some time in 2025, according to Elon Musk, or precisely when the Arizona factory is about to go live if LG's plans pan out.
In its Master Plan 3, Tesla lists the Cybertruck's vehicle category as having 100 kWh battery pack capacity on average, but the 4-ton pickup truck will likely require much higher capacities, especially the expected tri-motor Performance trim.
This means that Tesla will need massive quantities of 4680 batteries going forward. Tesla is already ramping up its Giga Texas and Nevada 4680 battery-making facilities but the expansions will take time, so every little bit will help when it comes to supply.
Besides the 4680 battery production announcement for North America, which will make it eligible for federal subsidies under the Inflation Reduction Act, LG announced several other EV battery projects. It plans to "strengthen its product portfolio targeting mid- to low-end EV segment, namely high-voltage mid-nickel NCM solution with a cost advantage, manganese-rich batteries, and LFP/LMFP batteries."
In addition, on the high-end battery market for performance electric vehicles, LG will have a high-nickel battery solution that will allow fast charging in under 15 minutes to full capacity. "The company also plans to boost the energy density of its high-nickel NCMA batteries by increasing the proportion of nickel to over 90 percent, and at the same time, achieve fast-charging time of less than 15 minutes by adopting high-capacity, high-efficiency silicon anodes," says LG, but stayed mum on where these fast charging batteries might end up.