Tesla has begun securing new battery technology. This time they are pouch batteries instead of cylindrical ones.

According to comprehensive coverage of the industry on the 2nd, Tesla started research & development (R&D) of pouch batteries. It is promoting the purchase of pouch battery equipment with the goal of bringing it in in the 1st quarter.

The equipment is for R&D use instead of mass production purposes. It is said that Tesla will use this equipment to research small pouch batteries. The reason Tesla is conducting R&D of pouch batteries, their application, the detailed background, and where they will be used has not been confirmed.

However, the fact that Tesla is developing batteries in a pouch form instead of a cylindrical form is drawing attention from the industry. This is because Tesla had only used cylindrical batteries for their EVs up until now.

Cylindrical batteries refer to batteries contained in cylindrical metal cans. As they had advantages in mass production due to standardized dimensions and were easy to supply, Tesla had only used cylindrical products.

Pouch batteries refer to batteries that hold battery components, such as the cathode and anode, inside a film-like package. It has the advantage of being able to be made into various forms of batteries.

The industry speculated that Tesla is researching pouch batteries with the commercialization of products other than EVs in mind.

Pouch batteries are also used in EVs, but Tesla’s equipment is for small pouches, and small pouches have only been used for mobile or wearable devices, such as smartphones, smartwatches, and wireless earphones. A member of the battery industry said that, “Small pouches are more appropriate for applications in electronic devices, such as wearables, rather than for use in EVs.” There is also the possibility that they may be used in the humanoid robots that Tesla revealed they were developing.

Tesla is developing the next-generation 4680 cylindrical battery to mount in EVs. The 4680 battery is a cylindrical battery with a diameter of 46mm and a length of 80mm. Compared to the previous cylindrical battery in the 2170 (diameter 21 mm, height 70mm) battery, both the size and the capacity have been more than doubled. With Tesla launching new EV models, like the Model Y, they are promoting the application of 4680 batteries.

For EVs to be competitive, they must have a steady supply of batteries and price competitiveness. Tesla is partnered with companies such as Panasonic, LG Energy Solution, and CATL for their batteries.

Photo Image
<Tesla Model 3.>

Reporter Jiwoong Kim jw0316@etnews.com