What is the advantage of using many small batteries over a large battery to power the electric vehicles?

Model S has 6,831 cells, not 6,800.

This is due to safety, reliability, cost and cost.

Cost: The capital cost of manufacturing equipment for 18650 cell is about the lowest it can get. This cell is larger than any other lithium-ion cell.

Reliability:
The cell is small and manufactured in large quantities, so the variation between cells is very low in comparison to other types of cells Nissan/NEC uses. These tiny differences are even more noticeable when they are combined into 69 parallel cell packs.

Safety:
The cells are separated by gaps, which allows for cooling and reduces the risk of thermal runaway. You also get more surface area per unit of volume than with a prismatic cells, which helps with thermal management.

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