After a number of contradictory reports on the question of whether Tesla will also manufacture battery cells in its planned factory in Grünheide, just outside of Berlin, it is now clear: Tesla will indeed be making batteries in their German location but have not revealed when this will be.
The confirmation of the persistent rumour now comes from the Brandenburg Ministry of Economics: “Tesla has started planning the production of battery cells in Grünheide. The company has informed us of this”, explained Brandenburg’s Minister of Economics Jörg Steinbach. At the same time, Tesla boss Elon Musk also revealed during the announcement of the latest quarterly figures: “There will be a local cell production that will cover the needs of the Berlin factory”.
At the same time, the announcement apparently does not yet refer to the first expansion stage of Gigafactory 4, in the course of which 500,000 electric vehicles are to roll off the assembly line in Brandenburg annually. Tesla is currently working on the foundations on the site, and the first vehicles, especially the Model Y, are to be produced there as early as July 2021.
Up to now, Tesla has relied internationally on a mixed strategy for cell procurement: In the USA, Tesla uses cells from its own co-production with Panasonic. For the Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai, the electric car manufacturer is ordering cells from LG Chem and, to a lesser extent, from Panasonic. Starting this month, CATL will apparently also start supplying Tesla in China with new types of LFP battery cells.
But it is also a fact that there have been rumours for some time that Tesla is planning to manufacture cells on its own – among other things in connection with the takeover of Maxwell. These rumours received new fodder in February of this year when it became clear that Tesla wants to set up a pilot production line for its own battery cells at its US plant in Fremont. In the recent Q2 earnings report, CEO Elon Musk said that Tesla’s Roadrunner battery project will be located in Fremont. The keywords here, he said at the live webcast, are capacity expansion and more local production. In addition, the Californian company took over Hibar at the beginning of the year – a company specialising in the manufacture of production equipment for battery cells. Official information on any plans will probably only be available at the postponed Battery Day, now scheduled for 15 September.
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