Chinese-Powered Tesla Model Y Are Being Made With Lighter Batteries

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The new Tesla Model Y uses Chinese batteries approved for Europe.

The Tesla Model Y sure seems to be the right car at the right time. For starters, it's electric and has the features and cargo space that today's consumers demand. Tesla frontman Elon Musk claims that the Tesla Model Y is now the highest revenue vehicle in the world and predicts it will be the best-selling volume car sold worldwide by next year. Clearly, Musk knows something we don't, and now Tesla has also quietly deviated on its core battery technology by using Chinese BYD batteries for European Model Y vehicles.

BYD is a Chinese carmaker that builds a handsome EV called the Han for its home market.

According to, the Tesla and BYD partnership has come to fruition and will supply the batteries in the upcoming Model Y. The base Model Y units manufactured in Germany for the EU market will enter production sometime between now and September.

Tobias Lindh/Twitter

The new tech powering the EU Model Y are Blade Batteries, which offer a structural battery system for chassis design. The BYD cell-to-body (CTB) cells offer a reduction in weight as used in the BYD Seal model produced in China. But it seems at this point, it may be a hybrid of Tesla structure and BYD cells since no other changes to the Model Y have been revealed. However, the Model Y has lost some weight using the BYD battery tech.

The Model Y destined for the EU weighs in at 4,601 pounds (2,087 kg), which is a 145 pound (66 kg) reduction over the previous Tesla Model Y using 60-kWh battery tech. The base Model Y will be produced at the Tesla Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg plant and will be the only BYD-powered version on the line. Since the BYD tech is focused on the base Model Y, the Long Range AWD and Performance versions will still run the LG Energy 2170 cylindrical-type battery cells. But the next-gen 4680 battery tech is on the horizon and should be a game-changer for Tesla.

Speaking of range, the BYD-powered base Model Y offers 273 miles total. Decent numbers for the compact urban areas of Europe but there is room for improvement. By contrast, the Chinese-made Tesla Model Y uses a 60-kWh battery and has a slight edge on the range spec with 283 miles. Then there is the current US-spec Model Y that has a 303-mile range as rated by the EPA, while the long-range boasts 330 miles. All of these range these figures should be eclipsed by the new 4860 cells whenever it finally arrives.

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