Rivian’s Latest Battery Innovation May Surpass Tesla’s Performance

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Rivian's Latest Battery Innovation May Surpass Tesla's Performance

Rivian caught everyone’s attention today by not only unveiling the much-awaited R2 SUV with an attractive starting price of $45,000 but also introducing another vehicle, the R3, alongside a groundbreaking battery cell powering both models. Named the 4695, due to its 46mm diameter and 95mm height, this cell stands out for its size, larger than Tesla’s 4680 cells, hinting at significant potential advantages.

Despite the cell’s size, its voltage remains consistent with typical lithium-ion battery chemistry, suggesting Rivian is sticking to familiar materials. However, the increased size means a higher amp-hour rating, allowing the 4695 to store more energy compared to the 4680. But that’s not all.

The larger dimensions of the 4695 cell also imply faster charging and discharging capabilities. This suggests that the R2 could enjoy quicker charging times and more robust peak performance compared to vehicles equipped with the narrower 4680 cells. Furthermore, this could enhance the vehicle’s regenerative braking efficiency.

Rivian isn’t alone in exploring the potential of 4695 cells; BMW also announced its intention to use them in its upcoming Neue Klasse EVs starting in 2025. Several leading battery makers, including Samsung SDI, Panasonic, and LG, are now producing this 46mm form factor.

While specific details of the 4695 cells remain under wraps, insights from Rivian’s reveal allow for educated guesses about the capabilities of this innovative battery technology.

A closer examination of Rivian’s battery pack reveals a structure comprising three large modules, each separated by robust internal frame rails, with a configuration of 34 cells in width by 8 cells in depth, totaling 272 cells per module. Assuming these lithium-ion cells are wired in series, the voltage per module calculates to 979.2V nominally, indicating a shift towards a 1000V system architecture rather than the speculated 800V.

When these modules are connected in parallel, the overall voltage remains constant while significantly increasing the available current. The exact capacity of these individual 4695 cells remains unspecified, but similar cells are known to support pulse discharge rates up to 10C, potentially offering power outputs up to 900kW, or about 1,200 horsepower. However, Rivian’s cells are likely optimized for higher capacity rather than extreme discharge rates.

The total capacity of Rivian’s battery pack remains to be disclosed, but such details will shed light on the potential performance enhancements these cells could introduce. It’s anticipated that the new 4695 cells could facilitate performance levels comparable to, or even exceeding, those achievable by Tesla models like the Model Y. Ultimately, the efficiency with which the drivetrain utilizes this stored energy will be crucial to the vehicle’s real-world performance capabilities, but the groundwork for exceptional power and efficiency is evidently in place.

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