Tesla’s eagerly anticipated Cybertruck could face serious delivery delays due to insufficient 4680 battery cell production at Giga Texas. These next-gen batteries with a larger form factor are essential to power Tesla’s angular electric truck. However, manufacturing snags could throttle the ambitious production targets to a crawl.
According to Reuters’ number crunching, Tesla can only produce enough 4680 cells for around 24,000 Cybertrucks per year – based on undisclosed output figures. This equates to a tenth of the required capacity to meet pre-orders nearing 250,000 units. Essentially, Tesla remains stuck in prototype purgatory, unable to scale 4680 cells for mass production.
The root issue lies in Tesla’s choice to use an innovative “dry coating” process for 4680 electrodes. While proven for small batteries, applying active materials as a dry powder is uncharted territory for EV-scale cells with 10x the capacity. Tesla must pioneer its own equipment to coat electrodes at warp speed.
Industry veterans view this dry coating technique as an audacious gamble by Tesla. Yet, if successful, it allows skipped steps and cost savings. However, Musk essentially placed a moonshot bet on the Cybertruck by tying it to unproven 4680 tech with little wiggle room.
Right now, Tesla produces Cybertrucks at a single-shift rate of 30-40 trucks per day at Giga Texas. Without a miraculous 4680 output burst, Cybertruck deliveries will trickle based on current cell capacity. Ramping up battery production remains an uphill battle.
Yet the Reuters report may underestimate Tesla’s iterative gains. In June, Tesla built its ten millionth 4680 cell, exhibiting steady progress, also has leeway to allocate more cells to Cybertruck before Model Y’s switch. Regardless, until 4680 lines hum round the clock, Cybertruck serves as collateral damage from Tesla’s big battery gamble.
On June 2023, Tesla’s Giga Texas factory has hit a huge milestone by producing over 10 million 4680 battery cells this week, 4680 battery is Tesla’s third-generation cylindrical cell, working Cybertruck.
Musk likely has no regrets on pushing the envelope. But with the Cybertruck already two years behind schedule, Tesla must crank 4680 capacity to deliver a revolutionary truck before rivals exploit its delays.