Mass Cybertruck production may be challenged by Panasonic 4680 battery delays
While Tesla is now able to produce enough 4680 battery cells for about a thousand vehicles per week, this capacity won't be nearly enough when it launches the Cybertruck with its 1.8 million in pending preorders. Its recent moves to announce new 4680 battery facilities at the Gigafactories in Nevada and Texas, as well as expand the existing one in Fremont, may have been premeditated by the bad news that its supplier Panasonic just delivered.
Panasonic said that its mass 4680 cell production will be delayed by the whopping six months, with a final deadline now way into September 2024. Initially, Panasonic's pilot 4680 production line was supposed to serve as a springboard for mass production viability in the April 2023 to March 2024 period. Despite Tesla's reported nagging, Panasonic's earnings report now says that it has moved that timeframe for between April 2024 and September 2024. There is apparently no chance that it will start churning out 4680 batteries in any significant quantities this year, and Panasonic cites performance or efficiency improvements as reasons for the delay.
Coincidentally, Elon Musk is on record saying that the Cybertruck electric pickup will be released this September, but Tesla will only begin true mass production ramp-up early next year. That timeframe might have just slipped by another quarter or two, since Tesla will now have to rely only on its own 4680 battery production capacity. Unless LG lends a hand with their own 4680 battery projects and beats Panasonic to the punch, that is.
The Cybertruck is expected to carry an average battery size of 100 kWh, as per Tesla's roadmap, while the Giga Nevada 4680 battery expansion that is supposed to eventually add 100 GWh of those cells has no finish deadline just yet. Tesla is now upgrading the second floor of its current 4680 battery production facility in Fremont, and building its own lithium refinery in Texas.
It also hopes to crack the mass dry electrode production method that will allow it to make more 4680 batteries faster and cheaper, but all those breakthroughs and extra capacity may not come fast enough for a mass Cybertruck production ramp in the next year or so.