Tesla has applied for a permit to expand its car factory in Austin, Texas. The new building will produce cathode materials as part of its battery cell production at the site.
According to the city, the new building will be almost 1.6 million square feet (about 149,000 square metres). While Tesla usually works with rather cryptic project names, in this case the matter is clear: the application is titled ‘Project Cathode’.
However, the application does not name Tesla itself, it was submitted by Michael Loftis of the engineering firm Kimley-Horn. However, Loftis has also applied for earlier construction permits for the Giga Texas. In addition, the Colorado River Project LLC is named as a co-applicant. That’s the name Tesla has used throughout the state and local approval process for its new Texas factory.
At ‘Battery Day’ in autumn 2020, Tesla had not only unveiled the 4680 cells, but also announced localised battery production. So far, Tesla manufactures its 4680 cells at the Tera plant in Fremont. The cathode production in Austin is therefore considered an important step towards establishing battery production close to the vehicle plant there. There, the 4680 cells are to be installed in the Model Y, Cybertruck and the Semi e-truck.
Elon Musk had confirmed during the announcement of the latest business figures that the Model Y from Texas will be delivered with the new structural battery pack and the 4680 cells from the outset. Since battery production in Texas is not yet running on a large scale, there was speculation that Model Y production – as in Brandenburg – would start with supplied 2170 cells for the time being.
Since Battery Day, Tesla had made several raw material deals to secure its own battery production with the necessary materials. In January, Tesla ordered nickel from Talon Metals, and last year there were further nickel deals with Prony Resources and BHP. Tesla has also ordered graphite and lithium hydroxide.
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