At the recent LA Auto Show, E for Electric‘s Alex Guberman had an opportunity to talk about EV efficiency with Sandy Munro and ask him about Lucid.
Sandy Munro said that he considers the Lucid team as one of the best and highly appreciates the achievements.
However, when Alex Guberman specifically asked (9:44) about Lucid CEO/CTO Peter Rawlinson’s opinion about the Tesla’s 4680-type cylindrical cell format, Sandy Munro… parted ways with Peter Rawlinson.
Let’s recall that Peter Rawlinson said at the time: “people are looking at 4680 as this huge breakthrough, and that’s a fantasy.”
Sandy Munro discusses Lucid technology now that deliveries have started and Lucid has overtaken Tesla as a leader in the longest EV range and fastest charging, but Sandy also responds to Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson’s claim that Tesla’s 4680 battery tech is not really a battery breakthrough but more of a “fantasy”.”
Sandy Munro tried to respond without swearing, as he clearly does not agree with Peter Rawlinson’s opinion. He even said “that’s crap.”
According to Sandy Munro, the 4680-type cylindrical cells significantly reduce the weight compared to smaller cells (bigger container instead of several smaller ones), as well as will allow to improve power output. He appears to be very confident in the substantial improvement that will be achieved with those new cells.
Sandy Munro says that the opinion was maybe more of a media approach to raise some controversy.
As we understand, Munro & Associates intends to buy and a Lucid Air for a teardown and seek for some smart solutions that will be later described and sold in detailed reports. That would be another EV after the upcoming Tesla Model S Plaid, Rivian R1T, Ford F-150 Lightning and probably some others.
Tesla 4680 battery cells and pack
When it comes to 800-900 V battery systems, Sandy Munro noted that the higher voltage obviously improves efficiency of the drive units, but the manufacturer has to find suppliers for that.
Porsche, Hyundai Motor Group (E-GMP platform) and Lucid are using roughly two times higher voltage than Tesla to lower the current at the same power level. GM’s Ultium is also running on a 800 V system. The 800 V system was recently introduced also by Chinese manufacturers, including BYD and Geely’s Zeekr. That’s the obvious direction.
Sandy Munro suggested that Tesla might remain at 400+ V for now, while switching to the new 4680 battery cells.
We assume that it’s all speculation, while the general trend is to increase the voltage to a much higher level, reasonable from the drive unit standpoint as well as important for fast charging.