Saueressig Engineering appears to be setting up shop in the US. The new reports also suggest Saueressig has designated a new site for its American HQ in very close proximity to Tesla. This points to the German company being indeed involved in building machines for battery cell production on behalf of the EV maker.
Rumours of Saueressig Engineering becoming a Tesla supplier already reached us last November. The company had hinted at a major order from an American carmaker on its website. Now, Teslarati reports that the company plans to establish a facility in San Antonio in the US state of Texas, about 80 miles from Tesla’s planned Gigafactory in Austin. As is well known, Tesla wants to produce its new 4680 battery cells at Giga Texas in the future and the new factory in the German town of Grünheide, known as Giga Berlin.
Saueressig focuses on “special machine construction” for several industries. For Tesla, the company is expected to contribute its expertise in the dry coating of electrodes, a process Saueressig is said to have developed together with Fraunhofer IWS. The dry coating is hailed to reduce process costs in electrode coating and has been noted at Tesla.
The report by Teslarati refers to documents from San Antonio City Council that has approved an economic incentive package that gave Saueressig a 75% tax abatement on a property located in Profit Drive. To take advantage of the incentives, Saueressig’s parent company Matthews International must invest nine million dollars (7.6 million euros) in expanding the property on San Antonio’s East Side. Neither Tesla nor Saueressig have made an official statement so far.
Elon Musk on Battery Day last September emphasised manufacturing technology above everything. “Making the machine that makes the machine is vastly harder than the machine itself,” he said and would repeat this statement during the briefing multiple times.
The new electrode for the 4680 cells will rely on dry electrode technology, which does away with the wet solvent during production and applies the powder directly into the film. That is in theory. In September 2020, Musk had admitted they had “Still a lot of work to do” on the machine, which is being revised repeatedly. The Tesla boss at the time estimated the machine finally enabling large scale production would be revisions number six or seven. “That’s about three years to reach the benefits and one year to scale up fully,” Musk concluded. At the time, Maxwell as a Tesla acquisition had been indicated as being instrumental. It is unclear how Saueressig Engineering may come in here.
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