Panasonic's New Battery Cell Has 6 Times the Power Capacity and 5 Times the Speed

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Chris Young

Electronics giant Panasonic has provided an update on the new 4680 battery cell it is developing for Tesla, via an interview with Nikkei Asia.

The form factor for the 4680-type battery cell was first revealed at Tesla's Battery Day event in September last year. During that event, Tesla claimed the 4680-type battery will provide five times more energy and six times more power capacity. The battery cell is powered by a new anode that uses a new silicon.

'The technological goals have largely been achieved'

Tesla has its own in-house 4680 battery project, but it is also looking to third parties such as Panasonic to develop and produce the battery in order to deploy it as soon as possible. In the interview with Nikkei Asia, the CEO of Panasonic's battery division, Kazuo Tadanobu, said "in terms of product development, the technological goals have largely been achieved." 

The battery division CEO also mentioned that the company is building a prototype production line. "We will conduct trials toward mass production and hone the process in Japan until it can be deployed quickly," he said. He also said that, though Tesla is the Japan headquartered corporation's priority, he would not rule out working with other electric vehicle makers in the future.

Tadanobu also gave insight into the decision behind the size of the cylindrical battery. "The 4680 was decided to be the optimal size of battery after looking at costs, the balance of the vehicles themselves, and other possibilities posed by cylindrical batteries," he said.

Tesla's 4680 battery could increase electric vehicle range by 16%

In October, Panasonic unveiled the prototype for the 4680 battery, alongside smaller 2170-type and 1865-type cells. At the time, InsideEVs reported that other manufacturers are also working on the 4680-type and may be competing with Panasonic to receive volume orders from Tesla.

Now, thanks to Tadanobu's interview, we know that Panasonic is specifically developing its 4680-type battery at "Tesla's request" and that it has been in discussions with the EV automaker since before September, meaning it likely has a headstart over other firms. Once it goes into mass production, the 4680 battery has the potential to greatly improve electric vehicle efficiency. Tesla claims it will be able to increase its electric vehicle range by approximately 16 percent. That could provide EV customer uptake with a great boost at a time in which countries are increasingly starting to phase out internal combustion engine vehicles with bans coming into effect in the relatively near future.

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