Tesla adds Model Y variant with BYD Blade batteries in Germany

According to Germany Tesla Mag, new structural batteries from BYD are now arriving at the Tesla factory in Grünheide, Germany. The packs have a capacity of 55 kWh and feature the LFP Blade battery cells developed by BYD to reduce battery fire risks associated with conventional lithium-ion battery cells while providing a competitive offering for electric cars. According to his sources, Tesla Mag says cars with BYD structural batteries will start rolling off the line later this month or early September.

Tesla has already obtained type approval for the new EU model according to leaked documentation at Tesla Mag. In these documents the new Y model is referred to as Type 005 and internally the Y7CR variant. The range is estimated at 440 kilometers.

The BYD battery news shows how nimble automakers have to be when it comes to finding batteries for electric cars. Electrif reports that the Germany-built Model Y was originally supposed to feature the latest 4680 battery cells developed by Tesla, but when production of these cells fell behind expectations, the first cars in the line were fitted of the most common 2170 cells that the company has been using for most of its cars for years.

Last year, Tesla announced it would use 60 kWh batteries from CATL in a single-motor Model Y with a range of 455 kilometers. When and why the switch to BYD happened is unknown, as Tesla is about as tight-lipped on corporate matters as the Pentagon is on troop movements. According PushEV, part of the answer may lie in economics. It says BYD batteries cost €55 per kWh. Another part of the answer may be availability at a time when demand for battery cells far exceeds supply.

Efficiency could also be a factor. The BYD 55 kWh pack weighs 66 kilograms less than the $60 kWh CATL pack, reducing power consumption to just 155 watt-hours per kilometer, slightly better than the 160 watt-hours per kilometer of the CATL-equipped model. We’re assuming the new Model Y with the BYD battery is a single-motor vehicle, but there’s no official word from Tesla on that.

All in all, it looks like Tesla is looking to produce a cheaper Model Y at a time when inflation is rife in Europe. Range expectations are also a bit lower among Europeans than they are among Americans, which means that the reduced range may not be as concerning as it would be in the United States. .

There are two more pieces of information from a German news source RBB. It says Tesla plans to add a second shift at the Grūnheide plant in August and expand to three full shifts by early next year. Tesla plans to make 5,000 cars a week at the plant by then.

RBB also says production was halted for a few weeks in July to fix issues with the machine that makes the cars’ rear molding. Too many of these castings were apparently defective. New technologies rarely work perfectly the first time they are used.


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