Global power battery companies are betting on cylindrical 4680 cells

4680 as the pioneer, the large cylindrical battery will impact the battery pattern

Global power battery companies are betting on cylindrical 4680 cells.

In November, there were two pieces of information about 4680 cylindrical batteries outside the world.
On November 5, Yiwei Lithium Energy announced that it will invest in the construction of a 20GWh large cylindrical battery production line for passenger vehicles in Jingmen High-tech Zone.
On November 2, Tesla began installing the 4680 cylindrical battery production line at its Texas plant in the United States.

Tesla's Texas plant being installed with battery cell production equipment

This means that in September last year, the 4680 battery announced on Tesla’s Battery Day has moved from “on paper” to the actual production stage.

Not only Tesla, but also domestic and foreign companies are accelerating the production of 46mm diameter cylindrical cells. 2022-2024 is the time when 4680 cylindrical cells at home and abroad will be listed.

Not only Tesla, but also global companies are accelerating the production of 46mm diameter cylindrical cells. 2022-2024 is the time when the global 4680 cylindrical cells will be listed.

In addition, many powerful battery cell manufacturers are also developing large cylindrical batteries of other sizes. Under the leadership of Tesla, there are many followers, and the large cylindrical battery may become a strong competitor for the square battery.

46mm cylindrical start

At present, the number of power battery companies on the market, especially the leading companies, are basically laying out large cylindrical cells.

Many mainstream Chinese companies have a layout

In terms of the latest news, Yiwei Lithium Energy has entered the stage of base and production line construction.

On November 5, Yiwei Lithium Energy issued an announcement saying that Hubei Yiwei Power Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of the company, plans to sign a “Contract” with the Jingmen High-tech Industrial Development Zone Management Committee, and will invest in the construction of 20GWh passenger vehicles in Jingmen High-tech Zone respectively. With large cylindrical battery production line and auxiliary facilities project, 16GWh square lithium iron phosphate battery production line and auxiliary facilities project, the total investment in fixed assets of the project is about 6.2 billion yuan.

Although the size of the large cylindrical battery was not announced in the announcement, Liu Jincheng, chairman of Yiwei Lithium Energy, revealed the specifications and ambitions of the product at the groundbreaking ceremony. “The large cylindrical battery project to be built in Jingmen may be the first production base for mass-produced 4680 and 4695 batteries in the world. The batteries produced here will be equipped to the world’s best companies.” Liu Jincheng said.

However, according to reports, the 4680 battery developed by the Israeli start-up company StoreDot will be produced in China’s Yiwei Lithium Energy factory, and mass production will begin after 2024.

Some media tried to establish contact with Yiwei Lithium Energy but failed. Therefore, it is unknown whether the 4680 batteries produced by Yiwei Lithium are self-developed or just OEM.

BAK is also one of the first companies in China to publicly release 4680 batteries.

In March 2021, BAK Battery held a media communication meeting to share the latest progress and future plans in the field of large cylinder technology.

Lin Jian, chief scientist of BAK Battery, said that BAK is cooperating with customers on the application development of the next-generation cylindrical battery—full-tab large cylindrical battery.

According to the latest response from BAK Battery, BAK has now entered the stage of mass production of samples, and the development progress and sample delivery are in line with expectations.

The first to be disclosed by the media was the 4680 project of JAC and CBAK Energy Technology.
In January this year, JAC and CBAK Energy Technology will jointly develop 4680 lithium batteries and battery packs.

JAC also committed to prioritizing the use of jointly developed batteries and battery pack systems in its future electric vehicles.

In addition, Honeycomb Energy is also developing 4680 cells, and the latest situation will be announced on Battery Day.

Japanese and Korean companies compete for the right to supply Tesla

According to Kazuo Tadanobu, head of Panasonic’s battery division, Panasonic plans to start trial production of 4680 batteries in Japan in March 2022. Previously, Panasonic announced that it will create a new energy business unit called Panasonic Energy Corporation by April 2022. In addition, this year Panasonic established a test line for the 4680 battery in Japan.

In July, it was revealed that Samsung SDI had completed the development of a sample of the next-generation 4680 battery pack for the Tesla Model Y and is currently conducting various tests at its facility to verify its structural integrity.

In March of this year, LG New Energy began preparing to build a pilot production line for Tesla 4680 batteries, and is currently transforming part of the production line at its Ochang factory, where assembly and electroplating equipment has been installed. LG’s pilot production line will start operating as early as 2021, the people said.

Last September, on Battery Day, Tesla announced its R&D and production plans for its 4680 battery. At present, the yield rate of Tesla’s 4680 battery pilot production line has increased from 20% last year to 70%-80%.

Last September, on Battery Day, Tesla announced its R&D and production plans for its 4680 battery. At present, the yield rate of Tesla’s 4680 battery pilot production line has increased from 20% last year to 70%-80%.

Tesla announced at the end of July this year that it expects to reach a capacity of 4,680 batteries of 100GWh per year by the end of 2022 to meet the needs of 1.3 million electric vehicles.

In September, Tesla’s Berlin factory broke ground. In terms of batteries, it mainly produces 4680 cells. Musk said that he hopes that the Berlin factory will produce 5,000 Model Y units equipped with 4680 batteries per week by the end of 2022, ideally reaching 10,000 units per week.

Tesla's 4680 battery on display at Gigafest in Berlin

At the Gigafest event at Tesla’s Berlin factory, the information of the 4680 battery in the third quarter exchange meeting was displayed. Tesla revealed that the first batch of 4680 is likely to be carried on the Model Y.

Tesla’s first batch of self-produced batteries will be supplied by suppliers such as Panasonic.

In fact, the large cylinder is not only the size of 46mm in diameter. Although Guoxuan Hi-Tech and Lishen both have cylindrical cells, they are currently focused on cells with a diameter of 32mm or 21mm; in addition, lithium iron phosphate cells with a diameter of 32mm in the Ningde era have been mass-produced and installed.

In addition, it is said that BYD, which has entered Tesla’s supply chain, has always been making square batteries.
However, the above-mentioned companies, in addition to BYD, also have news that they are pre-researching 4680 batteries.

At present, the mass production time of 4680 batteries of various companies points to between 2022 and 2024. Tesla will take the lead in mass production in 2022; Panasonic will start trial production in March 2022; LG New Energy aims to complete trial production before Panasonic starts mass production of batteries, with mass production planned as soon as 2023; BAK has begun A large-size cylindrical battery mass production base is planned, and mass production is expected in the next two years;

It is worth noting that since most battery companies are based on the demand for benchmarking Tesla, the battery cells are mostly positioned at 4680. But in fact, the diameter of the cell is a relatively fixed 46mm, but whether the height is 80mm or 90mm can be customized according to customer needs.

Significant increase in energy density and power

In Tesla’s traditional solution, the 21700 battery pack generally has 4 modules, two large modules and two small modules. The 21700 battery weighs about 312 kilograms and has more than 4,400 cells; the 4680 battery pack is about 336 kg, only 960 cells.

In terms of battery pack weight, the 21700 is 474 kg, and the 4680 is only about 438 kg. In terms of energy density, the 21700 is 170Wh/kg, and the 4680 is 215Wh/kg.

At present, the Chinese battery company 4680 has not revealed more data, only some information released by BAK in March as a reference.

For example, according to the example of BAK, we infer that the battery cell of BAK 4680 is about 25Ah, which is more than 8 times the capacity of 18650 3Ah. That is to say, for a battery pack of the same capacity, the number of cells of the 4680 is only 1/8 of that of the 18650, which significantly reduces the demand for battery management systems and circuit boards, and greatly reduces the cost.

BAK 4680 battery

Secondly, after using the large cylinder with all polar ears, the fast charging performance has been further improved. The data given by Bick is that in 15 minutes, the battery can be charged from 0 to 80%. That is to say, a car with a battery life of 600 kilometers can be charged for 400-500 kilometers after stopping at a charging station for 10-15 minutes, which is close to the speed of fuel vehicles.

The peak power density of 4680 can reach more than 1000W/kg; they are testing high-rate discharge above 10C, and the heating of the battery can be ignored.

In terms of safety, the large cylinder is also improved compared to the small cylinder. Bick said that the large cylinder must be accompanied by full-ear technology or Tesla’s electrodeless technology. Compared with the monopole lug of the traditional cylindrical battery, the design of the full lug makes the heat generated by the current evenly distributed inside the battery cell, and there is no centralized heating of the monopole lug, and the safety performance is significantly improved.

 

Although the specific data needs to be tested after loading the car, BAK believes that the large cylinder is at least as good as the soft pack battery and the large square battery, and may even be better.

Bick said that their technical route is different from Tesla, but the internal logic is the same.

At present, most of the 4680 cells of battery manufacturers are aimed at supplying Tesla. However, with Tesla’s appeal in the industry, it is believed that more and more car companies will adopt batteries with a diameter of 46mm, and the market share of cylindrical batteries is expected to increase significantly. After all, CATL, the leader of China’s prismatic batteries, has already deployed large-scale cylindrical battery production capacity.

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