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Tesla Module Teardown into 18650s - Actually possible

1791 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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Any chemists in the building ? Lol

So the most difficult part from what saw is the last layer of glue/plastic that bonds each battery cells as a single module. Perhaps if there is a chemical that dissolves the glue/plastic but doesn’t hurt the metal casing of each cell? One can dip the entire one side in the chemical solution to dissolve it and release the battery cells . Then repeats on the other side . Only issue is it might be conductive and short circuit .

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...

Mine were pulled using a flat blade screwdriver and hammer. The plastic cracks, at which point you can pull the cell out.
Oh so there is a plastic spacer in the battery cell itself ?..Bummer . I guess best way (for least effort) would then be those oscillating tools from what I’ve seen.
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