Source Tells Teslanomics Tesla Is Using 4416 Cells In Model 3 Battery Packs


Ben Sullins of Teslanomics has created a thriving business by reporting on all things Tesla and doing it in an authoritative fashion. When you get recognized as an authority, people tell you things that they don’t tell others. Right now, Sullins say he has a source that is “very close to Tesla” who is telling him the battery pack in the new Model 3 due out on Friday will use a brand new lithium ion cell format known as 4416. That portion of the latest video begins at about the 14:30 mark.

First a word about nomenclature. Batteries come in a dizzying array of sizes, shapes, and voltages. Right now, the Tesla Model S and Model X use so-called 18650 cylindrical cells. Long a staple of the electronics industry, they are 18 millimeters in diameter and 65 millimeters long — sort of the size of a AA battery. Those cells have been provided to Tesla since the beginning by Panasonic.

Tesla began manufacturing so-called 2170 battery cells at the Gigafactory in Nevada last year. They are slightly larger than the 18650 format batteries at 21 millimeters in diameter and 70 millimeters long. Until this point, it was assumed that Tesla would utilize the 2170 cells to make the battery packs for the Model 3. But if Ben Sullins’ source is correct, the Model 3 battery pack will actually used battery cells that are 44 millimeters high and 16 millimeters wide.

A quick scan of battery specifications on Wikipedia shows that size resembles what we normally think of as a 9 volt battery, the kind used most often in smoke detectors. Keep in mind that all this is speculation at this point. Sullins is careful to point out that his information comes from one source only and has not been corroborated in any way. But if his informant is correct, the likelihood is that the Model 3 battery pack is made up of cells that are rectangular instead of round. Otherwise, if they are cylindrical, they are three times bigger in diameter than they are tall.

Regardless of the shape, the new cells are said to have a higher energy density than either the 18650 or the 2170 cells. It’s that higher energy density that may give the Model 3 with a 75 kW battery a range of 315 miles or more. Sullins points out that the Model 3 is not that much smaller and lighter than the Model S 75, which has a range of 249 miles according to the factory. The only way to squeeze out more range with the same size battery would be to increase the energy density of the cells.

Sullins goes on to speculate further that the new cells will be used in updated versions of the Model S and Model X at some time in the future, once there are sufficient Model 3 battery packs available to meet demand. With higher energy density, he believes range for the Model S with a 100 kW battery could exceed 400 miles.

Is any of this true? We simply don’t know. Ben Sullins is a reliable source of Tesla information and he says the person who told him about the 4416 battery cells is someone he has found to be accurate in previous instances. We may know more in a few days when the official Model 3 introduction event takes place and the first 30 owners get their actual cars. Make that 29 owners. Car #1 is going to Elon’s garage.


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I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I'm interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.
  • Ed

    Uh…..isn’t 75 kWh the same energy content regardless of how it is packaged? Might not a 75 kwh in a slightly smaller, but steel vehicle might still max out at about 250 miles, regardless of the cell configuration?

    • bioburner

      Well yea but the higher energy density means you need fewer cells to get the same 75 KWH battery. lighter and cheaper is what I’m thinking.

      • Ed

        EVs all have in inherent performance curve of range at speed…and they will all fall in a narrow range, like 250-350 watts per mile for electric sedans at 65 mph. Anxious to see what is different about the M3.

  • fiddler John

    ” But if Ben Sullins’ source is correct, the Model 3 battery pack will
    actually used battery cells that are 44 millimeters high and 16
    millimeters wide.” The 18650 is 65 mm high and 18 mm wide so this new 4416 cell is MUCH SMALLER.

    in the video, BEN is saying the new 4416 is 44mm wide and 160mm high that would be MUCH BIGGER — HUGE even. That would be EIGHT TIMES MORE VOLUME! That’s crazy big!

    • Steve Hanley

      I found the presentation confusing. You may be right. I just don’t know and Tesla has provided no details, If you are right, my first thought is that cooling such large cells will be much more difficult, but I’m sure Elon and his minions have figured all that out long ago.

      • James Rowland

        Like I said earlier, 4416 is probably the number of cells used, not the type. They’ve just misunderstood something they heard and gone on a wild jaunt into fantasy land.

        • Tadeusz Piskozub

          That would make much more sense, given that 4416 cells amount to somewhere between 55kWh and 65kWh.

        • GregS

          Certainly seems reasonable to me

  • evfan

    Does anyone know … if an 18650 cell is 18mm diameter and 65mm long …

    Why is the new cell (21mm diameter and 70mm long) not called 21700?

    • James Rowland

      Yeah, I fully expected Tesla to follow industry conventions like they always do. đŸ˜‰

    • GregS

      I heard it was simply because the extra 0 was superfluous, so they dropped it.

      Besides – think about this, If the 65 needs an extra 0 then why didn’t the 18? Should it not have been a 180650?

      • dogphlap dogphlap

        My understanding is the extra 0 signifies circular cross section. Though that still leaves the question as to why the extra 0 was not added to the 2170.

  • James Rowland

    I’ll be surprised if this isn’t a misapprehension.

    There’s already another size cell in Tesla’s traction packs – the independent power supply for the pyro fuse. There’s likely to be something similar in the Model 3 pack.

    4416 is also about the right number for the total cell count of a 75kWh pack with 21-70 cells.

    • J_JamesM

      How convenient. The Bolt is 60 kWh and 350V.

  • DBC Cookie

    44mm diameter by 16mm height… That’s about the same size and shape as two Oreo cookies stacked on top of each other, or like a biscuit-sized coin cell. I think it is likely the rumor is mangled and they are not 4410 cells.

    Makes more sense that that is the quantity of cells.

    • Steve Hanley

      Damn funny looking battery cell, if true. It’s been more than 24 hours and no clarification from Tesla. They love it when so many people are talking about them!

  • Rob Magee

    My guess is that the extra range from the 75kwh battery comes from a smaller, less powerful, more efficient motor(s).