Structural battery pack with 4680 cells could be in the hands of customers very soon based on recent Model Y owner’s manual update

Structural battery pack with 4680 cells could be in the hands of customers very soon based on recent Model Y owner’s manual update

Tesla might be much farther ahead than many people think in the production of their 4680 battery cells.

A recent update to the Model Y owner’s manual mentions structural battery packs, and since structural battery packs and 4680 cells go hand in hand, this suggests that cars with these updated features could very soon be in the hands of customers.

First spotted by Twitter user Tom Klun (@TKlun1), the ‘Jacking and Lifting’ section of the owner’s manual now has a special note for cars equipped with a structural battery pack. (h/t: @nomadicbrian)

The note says that the “exact location of the lift points will differ slightly” with a structural pack.

structural pack
While this change alone doesn’t necessarily guarantee Tesla is about to start producing cars with these features, there are a few reasons why it is a very strong indication that they are.

The first reason is that Tesla updates the manual only when something is either in production, or is about to be. A perfect example of this happened just recently when the Model S Plaid owner’s manual mentioned Track Mode.

UPDATE: Track Mode now appears in the Model S owners manual, referencing software version 2021.44.30.

This is the same version number we were told it would appear in, which was originally scheduled for a Dec 28 release, then Dec 30. Now hopefully Dec 31.https://t.co/7SIH9xq2i9 pic.twitter.com/ZVTuwU4R6T

— Drive Tesla
🇨🇦
(@DriveTeslaca) December 31, 2021


Even then it wasn’t actually in the manual, but only visible when using the search feature. Just a few days later the feature appeared in the 2021.44.30 software update.

The second is that Giga Texas is rumoured to be given the green light to begin production in a matter of days.

These first cars to roll off the production line might feature single-piece front and rear castings with a structural pack based on the amount of 4680 cell production line equipment that has been spotted inside the factory in recent weeks.

Even if those lines aren’t running yet, Tesla said in their Q3 2021 earnings call that their pilot facility on Kato Road is producing enough to scale production at Giga Texas.

3rd Q – 4680 production in Texas this year?@elonmusk – probably not, but producing in California already at Kato Rd. That factory will be able to make enough cells for Giga Texas to scale production of Model Y

— Drive Tesla
🇨🇦
(@DriveTeslaca) October 7, 2021


If we haven’t already received an update on Giga Texas by January 26, we will very likely get one during the earnings call scheduled for that day.

The post Structural battery pack with 4680 cells could be in the hands of customers very soon based on recent Model Y owner’s manual update appeared first on Drive Tesla.

Continue reading...
 
  • Like
Reactions: NJturtlePower

TrevP

TOO Founder / Technoking
Founder
Joined
Oct 20, 2015
Messages
8,213
Location
Toronto
Country
Country
Tesla Owner
Model Y
We fully expect based on what's been spotted at Giga Texas that the Model Ys built there will indeed have 4680 structural packs.

Berlin on the other hand is not ready yet and will thus start with 2170 cell packs and transition to 4680 packs once the battery factory currently being built there is ready.



 
Last edited:
  • Love It!
Reactions: NJturtlePower

JasonF

Legendary Member 🏆
Joined
Oct 26, 2018
Messages
3,096
Location
Orlando FL
Country
Country
Tesla Owner
Model 3
I wonder though, what happens if the battery pack fails? If it’s structural they can’t really pull it off the car without losing structural rigidity and causing permanent damage to the entire frame. Either Tesla has excessive confidence in the battery pack never failing for the next 15-20 years, or they will finally give the Service Centers the ability to replace cell packs inside the battery!

That makes the most sense to me, especially because the issue with replacing cell packs previously was that once you remove and open the current battery, the structure and watertight seal are forever compromised, which is one of the main reasons they don’t like to mess with it. But if the cell packs are now exposed directly to the car interior, and the structure of the battery can’t flex because it remains attached to the car, compromising the pack by repairing it isn’t an issue anymore (though the labor of pulling out the seats and carpeting won’t be cheap).

Of course what makes the least sense to me is still a possibility - that the failure of a few cells simply totals the entire car. I‘m just hoping that’s not the case.

I’d love to hear what Sandy Munro has to say about it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: iChris93

GDN

Moderator
Moderator 📌
TOO Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2017
Messages
5,538
Location
Far North Dallas, TX
Country
Country
Tesla Owner
Model 3
I know they don't say it, but it being structural and key while driving the car, I would venture to guess the frame and car can stand on their own while a repair is being made. I'm sure it is perfectly safe to pull the pack for some amount of time if required for a replacement or some type of repair.
 

TrevP

TOO Founder / Technoking
Founder
Joined
Oct 20, 2015
Messages
8,213
Location
Toronto
Country
Country
Tesla Owner
Model Y
It’s a bit more complicated than that. They can’t just pull the battery out of the car. Seats and center console are bolted to the battery top so they need to dismantle that before pulling the battery. And yes, even though it’s part of the cars structure it is still removable if required.

Tesla has gone through several iterations of battery service expectations. At first they designed the Model S battery to be serviceable but they never did service them. Model 3 battery packs were simplified further but not serviceable. Structural packs are even simpler now but part of the car rather than carried as cargo
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kimmo57

JasonF

Legendary Member 🏆
Joined
Oct 26, 2018
Messages
3,096
Location
Orlando FL
Country
Country
Tesla Owner
Model 3
It’s a bit more complicated than that. They can’t just pull the battery out of the car. Seats and center console are bolted to the battery top so they need to dismantle that before pulling the battery. And yes, even though it’s part of the cars structure it is still removable if required.

My guess is that a lift designed for battery replacement might have to be specially made or adapted for service centers. Something along the lines of a lift where the car rolls onto narrow tracks and can be raised and lowered, and then a separate lift device operates from its center to raise and lift the battery. Kind of like an alignment rack, but with narrower tracks and an extra lift in the center. You wouldn't be able to use a standard 4-point lift to replace a structural battery pack (a non-structural one, yes, because the lift points are on the frame).

The problem is, building hundreds of those for all the service centers would be expensive, and then they would take up space. Sure it can be used as a standard lift as well, but it would still take up more space than a 4-point lift - unless they already have them, I'm not sure. Combined with the expense of shipping even heavier structural batteries around (and taking the chance of them being damaged), and considering the low number of battery replacements done, Tesla might simply prefer that the cars with bad battery packs be shipped to one of the factories instead for re-fitting. Especially because even if there is a lift for replacing the battery, that's no guarantee of the skill of the mechanic, and the service centers definitely don't have the equipment to properly realign a frame.

A far cheaper option in the long run - but expensive and complicated to train for up front - would be to have one or two mechanics at each service center certified to rebuild the batteries in place by swapping out cell packs.

But then again, I don't know. It's quite possible that Tesla simply will take the chance believing they will never have to replace a structural battery pack. Maybe they threw in some extra cells as spare capacity in case one cell pack goes bad, and if anything more catastrophic happens they'll figure it out when they get to it. If it's a rare enough event, maybe shipment back to the factory for refitting is an acceptable option for them.
 

garsh

🐦🦆🦅🐓🦃🦉🦜
Moderator 📌
TOO Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2016
Messages
16,014
Location
Pittsburgh PA
Country
Country
Tesla Owner
Model 3
A far cheaper option in the long run - but expensive and complicated to train for up front - would be to have one or two mechanics at each service center certified to rebuild the batteries in place by swapping out cell packs.
Not an option for a structural pack. There are no longer separate modules within the pack, and all of the cells are basically glued inside to become part of the structure.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: iChris93

JasonF

Legendary Member 🏆
Joined
Oct 26, 2018
Messages
3,096
Location
Orlando FL
Country
Country
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Not an option for a structural pack. There are no longer separate modules within the pack, and all of the cells are basically glued inside to become part of the structure.

Are you sure they're still glued? Because that would be very bad for them being able to shed heat.
 

garsh

🐦🦆🦅🐓🦃🦉🦜
Moderator 📌
TOO Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2016
Messages
16,014
Location
Pittsburgh PA
Country
Country
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Are you sure they're still glued? Because that would be very bad for them being able to shed heat.


"Instead of having a filler that is a flame retardant, which is what is currently in the 3 and Y battery packs, we have a filler that is a structural adhesive as well as flame retardant."

As far as shedding heat, that will be done via a cold plate at the bottom. Since there are no longer cooling lines running between the cells, you no longer want to shed heat out the sides because that would just transfer heat to nearby cells.
 

JasonF

Legendary Member 🏆
Joined
Oct 26, 2018
Messages
3,096
Location
Orlando FL
Country
Country
Tesla Owner
Model 3
"Instead of having a filler that is a flame retardant, which is what is currently in the 3 and Y battery packs, we have a filler that is a structural adhesive as well as flame retardant."

I bet that also is intended to keep oxygen out of the battery too, which would prevent cells from reaching runaway status and igniting.

As far as shedding heat, that will be done via a cold plate at the bottom. Since there are no longer cooling lines running between the cells, you no longer want to shed heat out the sides because that would just transfer heat to nearby cells.

A cooling plate at the bottom is slightly scary, that means impacts with road debris could cause all of the coolant to run out (assuming it runs between the cooling plate and the outside). I don’t know what the chances of that are, but it could mean running over something would basically total the car. Of course for a lot of exotics that happens anyway.
 

TrevP

TOO Founder / Technoking
Founder
Joined
Oct 20, 2015
Messages
8,213
Location
Toronto
Country
Country
Tesla Owner
Model Y
I bet that also is intended to keep oxygen out of the battery too, which would prevent cells from reaching runaway status and igniting.



A cooling plate at the bottom is slightly scary, that means impacts with road debris could cause all of the coolant to run out (assuming it runs between the cooling plate and the outside). I don’t know what the chances of that are, but it could mean running over something would basically total the car. Of course for a lot of exotics that happens anyway.
The have coolant lines running between the cells like they already have
 

iChris93

Moderator
Moderator 📌
TOO Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2017
Messages
4,038
Location
Albuquerque, NM
Country
Country
Tesla Owner
Model 3
A cooling plate at the bottom is slightly scary, that means impacts with road debris could cause all of the coolant to run out (assuming it runs between the cooling plate and the outside). I don’t know what the chances of that are, but it could mean running over something would basically total the car. Of course for a lot of exotics that happens anyway.
That already happens. Ask @Needsdecaf
 
  • Like
Reactions: GDN

garsh

🐦🦆🦅🐓🦃🦉🦜
Moderator 📌
TOO Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2016
Messages
16,014
Location
Pittsburgh PA
Country
Country
Tesla Owner
Model 3
The have coolant lines running between the cells like they already have
Do you have a reference for that?
I thought the cooling system was only contacting cells at the bottom in the structural pack.
 
  • Like
Reactions: iChris93

Similar threads