Despite the immediate problems, some analysts remain optimistic Tesla will resolve these issues.

“While execution risk remains and many details are unknown, Tesla’s impact on the global battery industry may still be underestimated,” Morgan Stanley said after investor day.

Musk first announced the new cell at Battery Day in September 2020.

At that event, he promised a 50 percent reduction in cell cost through a series of innovations, from a larger cell size to a new “dry” electrode coating process that could dramatically reduce the size and cost of a battery factory while boosting cell performance.

Repeated delays in moving the new cell from the initial prototype phase to full-scale production also have pushed back introduction of the long-awaited Cybertruck, which was designed to take advantage of the cell’s potential improvement in energy density and power – advances that have yet to materialize.

But it will take time for suppliers to ramp up production.

Panasonic is running a pilot 4680 production line at its Wakayama factory in Japan, and plans to start volume production later in the fiscal year that ends in March 2024.

Shoichiro Watanabe, chief technology officer of Panasonic Energy, last month said the company’s new Kansas battery plant will focus initially on 2170 cells, but it will eventually shift 4680 production to North America.

Last year, LG said it planned to open a new 4680 production line at its Ochang plant in Korea in the second half of 2023.

Tesla’s first-generation 4680 cells, built at its Fremont, California, factory, failed to hit an energy density target, people involved say.

The automaker so far has been able to dry-coat the anode – the negative electrode – but is still having issues with dry-coating the cathode, where the most significant gains are expected to be made, the sources said.

Tesla’s attempt to ramp up production of the dry coating process has thus far resulted in enough batteries only for about 50,000 vehicles annually, Musk and company executives have said.

In 2020, Musk said Tesla would have enough 4680 capacity in-house to supply 1.3 million Model Ys.

While executives said it seems likely Tesla will be able to increase 4680 output five-fold by year-end, the company is hedging.

Musk is betting if Tesla ends up with too many batteries this year, that is a good problem to have. It can use those for the energy storage systems it sells to utilities and consumers.

Tesla also has been installing first-generation 4680 cells with “wet” cathodes in so-called structural packs in Texas-built Model Ys. A majority of those vehicles use the older 2170 cells.

Tesla plans to use a cathode with more than 90 percent nickel in the next generation of 4680 cells, two sources said. L&F is expected to be one of the suppliers of that high-nickel cathode, another source said.

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