Tesla unveils new battery pack at Gigafactory tour. And, sigh, Gigabeer.

The new battery structure will make Model Y production more efficient and cost-effective.

09 October 2021, Brandenburg, Grünheide: Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, stands on a stage at the Tesla Gigafa...
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Construction on Tesla’s Gigafactory Berlin may have been briefly sidetracked by hibernating snakes, but the facility is finally almost ready for vehicle production. All that’s left is for Germany’s Environment Ministry to give Technoking Elon Musk the go-ahead — which could happen as soon as next month, Musk says, and not long after the facility will be producing upwards of 5,000 cars every day.

On Saturday, October 9, Musk opened up the new Gigafactory to press and the Brandenburg community. The factory tour was, for the most part, exactly what you’d expect: incredibly spacious, lots of car parts and hydraulics.

The “county fair” did more than just reveal the inside of Europe’s first Tesla factory, though. Musk took the opportunity to show off a number of new Tesla innovations, including a structural battery pack sporting the company’s latest advancement, its new 4680 cells. The 4680 cells are something of a major leap in battery tech for cars, as the larger “tabless” design allows for more energy storage per cell (around 9000 mAh) without increased heat output — reducing the number of individual cells per pack but increasing overall efficiency.

Oh, and the company also announced something called “Gigabeer.” Because this wouldn’t be a Musk show without a gag or two.

Fresh battery structure — Tesla’s big reveal came in the form of the new structural battery. The redesigned pack combined with a more streamlined frame architecture will provide Tesla’s updated Model Y vehicles with a significantly more efficient production scheme.

The battery concept is a fairly radical departure from Tesla’s current battery model, as Electrek points out. Rather than building a car structure and subsequently squeezing battery modules in to fit just right, Tesla’s new battery pack forms the structure of the car. The entire battery is one large unit that then connects to other pieces of the Model Y’s body.

The new battery structure has been in the Tesla research pipeline for a few years now. Musk says it minimizes the number of parts needed for the construction of each car and reduces the total mass of the battery, too.

And of course there’s beer — Because this is Tesla, Musk also made it clear that the Gigafactory is supposed to be fun. The factory walls will be covered in “street art,” for example. Oh and also, Musk says, “We are going to have a beer.” An image of the angular “Gigabier” bottle filled the projection screen behind him, but Musk shared no other details about the beverage. It’s Tesla Tequila 2.0.

Musk said last year that he hopes to build a “rave cave” somewhere in the Berlin Gigafactory. Too bad partying doesn’t often dispel overwhelming racism or protect workers from pandemics.