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Tesla Module Teardown into 18650s - Actually possible

1788 Views 14 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Functional Artist
So for years I've been hearing that tearing down Tesla packs was "impossible" because they have like, 5 layers of plastic and metal bonded together and the last layer in particular is glued down to the cells.

Tesla packs don't get used as often as they otherwise might be in DIY EV conversions because the form factor is just too large. To get 400v out of it, you basically have to use the entire pack, and donor cars just never have as much room to fit all those batteries as the Tesla designed for them did.

Well, two (Dutch?) guys with a couple beer in their garage who wanted them for e-bike packs just stuck with it until they figured out what works. They tried just about everything (pliers ripping chunks of plastic off, chisels, hammering a meat cleaver along the outside lip, etc), and eventually what became the obvious choice was to use an oscillating tool to slice the plastic.

Seems like it's fastest to take it apart 2 rows at a time, the plastic will still break apart after that.

Honestly, doesn't seem like it's all that much time if you were to start with the solution they figured out at the end of it. Maybe an hour per module? Maybe 2? For a car-sized project it seems reasonable.

The end result of course being that Tesla packs go from having the most ungainly form factor, to the best form factor that could be made to fit anyone's car, albeit with extra work building your pack.

Video is kind of a waste of time. Watch the early part, watch the end, skip the middle where they're trying all the dumb things that didn't work. It's just fly-on-the-wall footage, there's no narration.

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It's not impossible for the S/X modules - who told you that?
People here have been saying that for years, that there's no point, that it can't be done, that they're glued in and you'd never get them out.

This was the first time I'd seen anyone share their successful attempts.

When you successfully extracted cells, did you share your success and methods here?

It's a plastic that dissolves in acetone - my buddy extracted his that way. Then I pointed out to him there's a plastic spacer below the vent inside the cell...
That was my concern.

However, the bottom of the cells are continuous and should be just fine to be dipped. At which point, prying them out of the top should be pretty easy, they'd be dangling loose like grapes.
I wouldn't call lighting off a cell successful
Okay, well, you can't make the argument both ways.

It's either well known and easily possible to disassemble Tesla modules for their cells, or, it's difficult and unviable.

I've only seen the difficult and unviable declarations for the last... 10(?) years these modules have been available to the DIY community. This video showed it's a bit crude, but nothing fancy is needed nor is it especially dangerous. They went through a variety of methods until they found something that worked for them.

Sharing attempts, partial successes and failures is of value in the DIY community too. Maybe it saves someone some time, or maybe it gives someone an idea of what else to try. Building on each other's knowledge; kind of the point of a DIY community. Unless you're just out to sell EV services and to scare everyone into thinking DIY is impossible and must be professionally done.
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