USA / GER - Tesla Adds New Model Y Variant at Giga Berlin With BYD Structural Battery Packs

Tesla was first rumored to start Model Y production with BYD batteries at Giga Berlin last August, but nothing happened beyond the certification. A new report indicates that Tesla has finally begun volume production of the Model Y RWD with BYD structural battery packs in Germany.


Pressemitteilung | Reading time: min | Bildquelle: Tesla

Giga Berlin has been on a roll lately, quickly ramping up production and achieving several milestones in a short period. It also added new Model Y variants beyond the initial Model Y Performance production. The first was the Model Y Long Range AWD, shortly after the production debuted in March 2022. Since then, Tesla has been working with suppliers to localize more Model Y variants, including the base RWD version.

Until recently, the Model Y RWD was built in China with LFP battery cells supplied by CATL. The cars were imported into Europe and sold in various markets, including Germany. In August 2022, the first rumors emerged about a supply deal with BYD. The Chinese company is not only Tesla's fiercest competitor in the EV market but also an important supplier. Although many believe Tesla was diversifying its supply base at Giga Shanghai, it turned out BYD would provide battery packs to Giga Berlin.

Like CATL, BYD is a significant producer of LFP (Lithium-Iron-Phosphate) cells, so it became clear that Tesla was preparing to produce the LFP-version of the Model Y in Germany instead of importing it from China. Soon after, we learned that Tesla obtained European certification for the new Model Y variant and that production might start as soon as September 2022. That didn't happen, though, as the Model Y RWD was still imported from China.

Now, the publication that offered us the first information about the BYD deal revealed that Tesla has finally started mass production of the Model Y RWD in Germany. According to Teslamag, the base-version Model Y uses a structural battery supplied by BYD and appears to be the exact type certified in 2022. This would be the first time Tesla built the Model Y with an LFP structural battery pack, as the cars imported from China don't have that.

Teslamag says that the LFP structural battery packs would not be made by Tesla but supplied by BYD from China. Tesla's structural battery packs are currently manufactured by Tesla, even though the cells are provided by partners such as Panasonic or LGES. Based on the certification papers from August 2022, BYD structural batteries have a 55-kWh usable capacity, which is a tad lower than CATL's 60-kWh packs. The certified WLTP range is also lower, at 440 km (273 miles) versus 455 km (283 miles). BYD battery packs also appear lighter since the Model Y weighs less, at 2,087 kg (4,600 lbs), compared to the CATL version (2,153 kg/4,747 lbs).

Teslamag offers more insight into the production line expansion at Giga Berlin, which now uses four GigaPresses. According to the German news outlet, one already produces front megacastings, with two other die-casting machines being prepared for the same job. When the line is complete, eight of IDRA's GigaPresses will be active in Gruenheide producing megacasting for the Model Y.