Samsung to make long-range 4680 battery cells for Tesla
Samsung SDI is preparing to launch a pilot line for manufacturing 4680-style batteries for Tesla, reports Korean media. The test phase will take place in Cheonan and aims for about 1 GWh of total capacity produced at a slower pace by the end of the year. If this verification stage goes well, Samsung will move to mass production of 4680 battery cells in its Seremban plant in Malaysia, to the tune of 8 GWh to 12 GWh capacity load. If Samsung manages to pull off the higher end of that range, it will be able to supply next-gen batteries for 230,000 high-performance Tesla cars next year.
For comparison, in the beginning of the year Tesla boasted the millionth 4680 cell produced in its Fremont factory, but that number is only enough for about 1200 Model Ys. The 4680 battery, named after its actual dimensions, is a groundbreaking design that is not only more economical to produce than Tesla's current units, but the cells pack higher energy density hence allow larger EV range reach at the same footprint. The 4680 cells that Samsung SDI will be making for Tesla will allow for performance models that can travel 400 miles on a charge.
Tesla's original 4680 partner, Panasonic, has been urged by Elon Musk's company to hurry up with the mass production stage as it is still entering the testing and verification phase, too. In fact, LG recently announced that it has developed its own 4680 cell that may beat Panasonic to the punch when it comes to mass production and deliveries to Tesla. With Samsung SDI, Tesla now has another potential supplier of the next-gen 4680 battery and supply diversification can only benefit the end user.