Samsung SDI, besides the 4680 (46 diameters, 80mm length) batteries it is developing for Tesla, has added two new cylinder batteries spec in its development project, TheElec has learned.
Besides 4680, a spec Tesla unveiled for the first time back in September 2020, the South Korean battery maker will also develop 4695 and 46120 batteries (same diameters but with lengths of 95mm and 120mm, respectively), sources said.
Most cylinder batteries used in electric vehicles are either 1865 or 2170.
Tesla, introducing 4680, had said it plans to lower battery costs which will lead to a lower price for electric vehicles.
Battery makers Panasonic and LG Energy Solution had already announced since then that they plan to manufacture 4680 batteries.
Samsung SDI had initially planned to develop batteries with 46 diameters but with shorter lengths.
Making them shorter makes it easier for the company to manufacture them, but smaller and shorter batteries mean they have lower energy density than larger ones.
Sources said 4680 batteries can have up to 5 times the energy density, 6 times the output, and can extend the drive distance of EVs by up to 20% when they are packed in the vehicle.
But manufacturing them is more difficult as companies must put in jellyrolls (materials packed into that shape) inside the cylinder can at a consistent strength without misalignment.
Tesla also introduced 4680 batteries as tab-less so that tab is on the jellyroll instead of the can and this requires precise control of materials that are rolled.
Samsung SDI, meanwhile, had been a leader in cylinder batteries for a long time and had been the market leader before Panasonic and LG Energy Solution started making the battery type for EVs.
It is likely making 46 diameter batteries in various specs to differentiate itself from rivals.
The pilot lone for the batteries is being set up at Cheonan, South Korea, and Samsung SDI will likely build commercial lines in Malaysia.