Tesla wants to expand Giga Texas for component production


Tesla has applied to the US state of Texas to expand its factory in Austin this year. The EV maker plans investments of more than $700 million to build new facilities for the testing and manufacture of battery cells, cathodes and drive units.

Tesla officially opened its Austin factory in April 2022. The changes now announced, however, won’t affect the vehicle production. Said capacities – Tesla currently makes the Model Y in Texas and will eventually produce the Cybertruck there – may be expanded at another time since the production lines only take up a small part of the huge hall. So there is still room for more vehicle production lines.

According to the Texas Department of Licensing and Registration filing, Tesla wants to use an additional area of 1.4 million square feet (130,000 sqm) for four new projects and invest $717 million in it. Most of the investment and space will go into a facility called Cell 1 with a total amount of $368 million and just over 64,000 square metres. The construction of ‘Cell 1’ – presumably the hall for cell production – is to begin on 23 January and be completed on 12 February 2024.

The second largest sub-project is the ‘Drive Unit’ building, which Tesla wants to build on 39,300 square metres by January 2024 at a cost of around $85 million – and given the name, unsurprisingly, is to house the production of drive units.

The ‘Cathode’ hall, somewhat smaller at 29,800 square metres but considerably more expensive at $250 million, will produce some of the preliminary products for the ‘Cell 1’. Construction is scheduled to begin here on 30 January; this facility is still to be built in 2023, specifically by 18 December.

Construction of the smallest sub-project is to be completed even faster: a ‘Cell Test Lab’ measuring just 240 square metres is to be built by 25 August.

However, the portal Electrek points out that some of these expansion applications may be an addition to earlier plans. This is because, according to recent drone footage of the site, the cathode manufacturing facility is apparently already under construction, although the current filing says work will not start until the end of the month. So the current construction activities are likely to be based on earlier submissions.

However, the documents do not provide more detailed data on the projects listed. Thus, the production capacities for cell, cathode and drive manufacturing remain open. It is not explicitly mentioned, but it is clear that it will be the production of 4680 round cells. Tesal will utilise these cells in the Model Y built in Giga Texas and the Semi electric truck, but also the Cybertruck and, Roadster 2 in the future.