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Tesla Confirms New 82 kWh Larger & More Energy-Dense Battery Cells in 2021 Model 3 Refresh

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There are a lot of ongoing talks about the 2021 version of the Tesla Model 3. There were speculations as to what new features will be added to their most affordable model. We reported that the new version contains a new center console, powered trunk, and new wheels. Apart from this, the 2021 Model 3 also has a better range, increasing its figure from 322 miles (518 km) to 353 miles (568 km). Yesterday, Tesla confirmed that a new battery pack is the reason behind this increased range.

Tesla Confirms New 82 kWh Larger & More Energy-Dense Battery Cells in 2021 Model 3 Refresh

The new battery pack has a capacity of 82 kWh. The earlier batteries in the Model 3 varied according to the variant you pick. The Standard Range Plus had a battery pack of 54 kWh, while the Performance and Long Range Plus variants had 62 and 79 kWh packs respectively.

New Battery Cells from Panasonic

According to Tesla, this increased battery capacity is due to the use of new battery cells manufactured by Panasonic. In August this year, there were reports Panasonic investing $100 million in Tesla’s Gigafactory Nevada. The result of this investment was a new production line, which increased the Nevada plant’s output to 39 GWh per year. At that time, Panasonic had also announced that they will increase the battery capacity by around 5%.  These new battery cells also enabled faster charging of the vehicle.

It wasn’t clear until now whether Tesla had started using these new battery cells. However, a Reddit user managed to clear the air.

Tesla Sales in Europe

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Tesla is all about making the process smooth and efficient, be it with the cars or the officials. In case of cars sold in Europe, Tesla always sends the ownership papers to the customers early. This enables the customers to register their car beforehand, so as to guarantee a smooth pick-up. Due to this, some German owners already have their cars registered, while they are getting deliveries in December.

82 kWh Batteries in 2021 Model 3

The papers clearly show the battery capacity as 82 kWh. The same papers for the 2019 and 2020 versions showed 79 kWh as the battery capacity. This is consistent with the 5% increase that Panasonic had mentioned.

The 4680 Cells

Tesla clearly stated that the current deliveries contain the older 2170 cells and not 4680 cells. The 4680 cells are still under development and will be used regularly from next year. However, these new 2170 cells may have benefitted from the new cell format that Tesla has planned for 4680.

Our Opinion

Tesla has finally confirmed the secret behind the increased range. There were talks of an efficiency package, which would include components like aerodynamic wheels. But this news confirms that it is just a battery with higher capacity. Of course, we will have to wait and watch the effect of these new cells.

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Mihir Tasgaonkar
A mechanical engineer who loves reading and writing about new technologies in the automobile industry.

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