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Which Batteries is Tesla Using in Each Model Today?

As an experienced tech analyst and Tesla enthusiast, I‘m often asked – which batteries is Tesla using in their vehicles today?

It‘s a great question. The battery technology that powers Teslas is a core part of what makes them stand out from the crowd. Tesla uses different types tailored for each model‘s specific performance needs.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll dive deep into the batteries, exploring:

  • The 4 key types of Tesla batteries
  • Specs and models for each battery
  • Detailed history and future outlook
  • Comparisons of the pros and cons

Let‘s get right into it!

Overview of Tesla‘s Core Battery Types

Tesla relies on lithium-ion battery cells for all their electric vehicle models. However, they use different cell formats across their lineup:

  • Cylindrical 18650
  • Cylindrical 2170
  • Cylindrical 4680 (next-gen)
  • Prismatic Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP)

The key factors that vary between these battery types include:

Cell size – Measured in mm diameter x height for cylinders. Prismatics are pouch shaped.

Energy density – Measured in Wh/L, this determines driving range. Higher is better.

Power density – Measured in W/L, this determines acceleration. Higher outputs more speed.

Chemistry – Early cells used Nickel-Cobalt cathodes. Now shifting to LFP.

Cost – LFP has significantly lower $/kWh cost compared to Nickel-Cobalt options.

Now let‘s explore each of Tesla‘s core battery types in-depth…

18650 Cylindrical Cell

The 18650 cylindrical cell was the first lithium-ion format adopted by Tesla, starting with the original 2008 Roadster.

Fun fact: The 18650 name comes from its size – 18mm diameter x 65mm height.

Here are the key specs for the 18650 Tesla battery cell:

Size: 18mm x 65mm

Capacity: Up to 3500 mAh

Voltage: 3.7V nominal

Chemistry: NCA or NCM cathode, graphite anode

Energy Density: 260 Wh/L

Power Density: 1500 W/L peak

This cell provided a breakthrough level of energy and power density that enabled practical EV driving range and performance. However, Tesla saw opportunity to improve both metrics to enable longer range and faster charging vehicles.

The 18650 battery powered three Tesla models:

Tesla Roadster

The original Roadster used 6,831 18650 cells to deliver over 200 miles of range – a first for a highway-capable EV at the time.

  • Battery: 53 kWh capacity
  • Range: 244 miles
  • 0-60 mph: 3.7 seconds
  • Top Speed: 125 mph

Tesla Model S

Tesla‘s flagship Model S sedan has used the 18650 cell since launching in 2012. In its largest 100 kWh configuration, over 8,000 cells provide industry-leading range.

  • Battery: Up to 100 kWh capacity
  • Range: Up to 405 miles
  • 0-60 mph: 2.4 seconds
  • Top Speed: 163 mph

Tesla Model X

Sharing DNA with the Model S, Tesla‘s Model X SUV also uses 18650 cells to deliver ample range of over 300 miles.

  • Battery: Up to 100 kWh capacity
  • Range: Up to 351 miles
  • 0-60 mph: 2.6 seconds
  • Top Speed: 155 mph

While very capable, the 18650 cell‘s limitations in density and manufacturing scalability lead Tesla to design a new format – the 2170.

2170 Cylindrical Cell

In 2017, Tesla introduced the Model 3 compact sedan – their first mass market EV. This vehicle debuted the new 2170 cylindrical cell, co-developed with battery partner Panasonic.

As the name indicates, the 2170 cell measures 21mm in diameter by 70mm tall. Compared to the 18650, Tesla‘s 2170 cell offers:

  • 5x larger capacity per cell
  • 30% higher energy density
  • Easier high-volume manufacturing

This translates into improved range, performance, and lower costs – making the 2170 cell ideal for the mainstream Model 3. Here are the key specs:

Size: 21mm x 70mm

Capacity: Up to 5300 mAh

Voltage: 3.7V nominal

Chemistry: NCA or NCM cathode, graphite anode

Energy Density: 330 Wh/L

Power Density: 1300 W/L sustained

The 2170 battery now powers two Models:

Tesla Model 3

With ~4,600 cells, the Model 3‘s 2170 battery delivers class-leading range similar to Tesla‘s larger sedans.

  • Battery: Up to 82 kWh capacity
  • Range: 358 miles
  • 0-60 mph: 3.1 seconds
  • Top Speed: 162 mph

Tesla Model Y

The newest Tesla SUV shares the same 2170 cell as the Model 3, providing excellent range.

  • Battery: Up to 82 kWh capacity
  • Range: 326 miles
  • 0-60 mph: 3.5 seconds
  • Top Speed: 155 mph

While Tesla continues using the 2170 cell, their next-gen 4680 battery aims to take things to the next level.

4680 Cylindrical Cell

In 2020, Elon Musk announced Tesla‘s development of the 4680 cylindrical cell. As the name indicates, it measures 46mm in diameter and 80mm tall – making it much larger and more energy dense.

Fun fact: The 4680 is over 5X larger than the 18650 cell by volume!

Tesla is uniquely manufacturing 4680 cells in-house at their factories. By optimizing the entire production process themselves, Tesla aims to maximize performance and cost savings.

Here are the target 4680 cell specs:

Size: 46mm x 80mm

Capacity: Up to 230 Wh

Voltage: Likely 3.7V nominal

Chemistry: LFP cathode (no Nickel or Cobalt)

Energy Density: 30% higher than 2170

Power Density: 56% higher than 2170

The 4680 battery promises longer range, faster charging, and superior power compared to prior formats. Tesla is starting to implement 4680 cells beginning with the Model Y.

Tesla Model Y

All Model Ys manufactured at Tesla‘s new Austin, TX gigafactory will be equipped with 4680 batteries. This next-gen cell will enable improved performance.

  • Battery: Details pending
  • Range: Target over 300 miles
  • 0-60 mph: Potentially under 3.5 seconds
  • Top Speed: Likely unchanged

As 4680 production scales up, Tesla plans to integrate it into Cybertruck, Semi, and Model 3 too.

LFP Prismatic Cell

In addition to cylindrical cells, Tesla is adopting the LFP prismatic cell format for some models. These cells have a flexible pouch shape.

Tesla sources LFP batteries from Chinese maker CATL. The benefits of LFP chemistry include:

  • No expensive nickel or cobalt
  • More stable in hot and cold temps
  • Lower cost per kWh

The tradeoff is somewhat lower energy density leading to less range compared to similarly sized nickel-cobalt packs.

Tesla intends to use LFP cells for now only in Standard Range rear-wheel drive Model 3 and Model Y variants. Key specs:

Chemistry: LFP cathode, graphite anode

Energy Density: 120-180 Wh/kg

By substituting LFP cells, Tesla can reduce costs while increasing profitability on their most affordable variants. The new 4680 format will provide higher performance options.

Tesla Battery History and Future Outlook

Looking back from the original 2008 Roadster to today, we can see the clear progression in Tesla‘s battery technology:

2008 – 18650 cell – Provided breakthrough 200+ mile range for early EVs

2017 – 2170 cell – Scaled capacity and density for Models 3 and Y

2020 – 4680 cell – Maximizes performance and cost with in-house design

2022 – LFP chemistry – Reduces reliance on expensive cobalt and nickel

This relentless battery innovation is essential for Tesla to keep pushing the boundaries on EV range, charging, power, and affordability.

Glancing into the future, we can expect:

  • Rapid 4680 rollout – Will power Cybertruck, Semi, and more

  • Faster charging – Enabled by 4680‘s peak power density

  • Lower cost packs – High-volume 4680 manufacturing and LFP cells

Tesla‘s next-gen 4680 format represents the biggest leap in battery performance and cost reduction yet. Combined with more affordable LFP chemistries and widespread Supercharging, Tesla is poised to dominate the growing global EV marketplace. Continued battery tech advancements will be vital to that mission in the years ahead.

The future is bright for Tesla‘s batteries!

Comparing Tesla‘s Battery Types

Now that we‘ve covered each of Tesla‘s core battery types in-depth, let‘s compare them side-by-side:

Battery Type Cell Size Energy Density Power Density Chemistry Models Used
18650 18mm x 65mm 260 Wh/L 1500 W/L NCA/NCM Roadster, S, X
2170 21mm x 70mm 330 Wh/L 1300 W/L NCA/NCM 3, Y
4680 46mm x 80mm +30% vs 2170 +56% vs 2170 LFP Future Y, 3, Cybertruck, Semi
LFP Prismatic Pouch 120-180 Wh/kg Lower LFP Standard 3, Y

As shown above, Tesla‘s battery technology has continued to advance over time – increasing in cell size, energy density, power capabilities, and manufacturing efficiency.

The 18650 cell enabled Tesla to launch practical long-range EVs starting with the pioneering Roadster.

The 2170 cell boosted performance and lowered costs suitable for the mass market Model 3 and Model Y.

And the new 4680 format aims to maximize both metrics further while reducing reliance on expensive materials like cobalt.

Each battery innovation has built on the strengths of its predecessor while advancing Tesla‘s vehicles. Given Tesla‘s historic battery improvements over just the past 15 years, it‘s exciting to think what the next decade might bring!


In summary, Tesla utilizes four main lithium-ion battery types across their current and future vehicle lineup:

  • Cylindrical 18650 and 2170 cells offered high performance
  • Next-gen 4680 cylindrical cells push the boundaries further
  • New LFP prismatic cells reduce costs on affordable models

Tesla batteries are tailored to each vehicle, with newer formats steadily improving energy density, power delivery, charging speed, manufacturing efficiency, and affordability.

Continued battery innovation will be key for Tesla to maintain its competitive edge as more automakers enter the EV space. Given the company‘s ambitious roadmap and progress to date, Tesla appears well positioned to dominate for years to come.

I hope this guide has helped explain the differences between Tesla‘s battery types and why new formats like the 4680 and LFP chemistry represent major leaps forward. Let me know if you have any other battery tech questions!