Tesla adding 4680 battery capacity for 1.5 million EVs and mass Semi production lines to its first Gigafactory
Tesla will invest US$3.6 billion in a massive expansion of its original Gigafactory in Nevada. The project will bring mass Semi truck production as well as 100 GWh of new 4680 battery capacity, enough to power 1.5 million "light-duty" vehicles. While that term includes the Cybertruck, as the Semi is a long-haul rig, it's not clear if the first Cybertruck batches will be powered by a 4680 battery pack.
So far, Tesla only ships one vehicle with a 4680 battery - the Texas-assembled Model Y - in a structural cell-to-pack design configuration where the battery assembly is an integral part of the vehicle frame. The Model Y's 4680 battery pack costs about US$3,600 less to make than the traditional Model Y battery with smaller 2170 cells that costs north of US$10,000, so Tesla will try anything possible to ramp up 4680 battery production and expand the savings across its vehicle lineup on the way to its stated "mass electrification" goal. That, and the fact that the federal subsidies of US$7,500 for a new EV that run until 2032 require that their batteries are made in the US, so Tesla would wants to keep its vehicles qualified.
The second part of the project deals with the issue of commercial Semi truck production scale as Tesla's orders for the long-haul rig are picking up steam. The Semi offers 500 miles of range on a single charge and the first units were already delivered to its first retail client - Pepsi - courtesy of a state subsidy grant for factory sustainability improvements.
Tesla has reportedly amassed orders for more than 2,000 Semis so far and it will need a dedicated production line to start churning those out and deliver them to customers. Unfortunately, there is no timeframe given for the planned US$3.6 billion Giga Nevada expansion, neither for the added 100 GWh of 4680 battery capacity, nor for the start of the mass Semi truck production there.