Tesla’s EIA report hints at the automaker possibly building a battery cell production facility inside the Gigafactory 4 compound. Elon Musk has talked about Tesla pursuing full vertical integration with its production line for years. Tesla has also made certain moves towards its own battery cell production line recently. Gigafactory 4 in Brandenburg may be where all of the EV automaker’s hard work and plans are executed.
Recent filings for Tesla GF4 show the site layout for the massive complex, listing the primary buildings that will be constructed on the site. Among the most noticeable parts of this layout is a large area marked “cell.”
The size of the building marked “cell” in GF4’s planned layout inspires a lot of speculation. Based on its size, it appears that Tesla may be looking to manufacture actual battery cells on location in GF4.
Based on the dimensions of the “cell” building, it will be significantly larger than the battery and powertrain facility being constructed at the southern end of Tesla’s GF3 in Shanghai. It should be noted that Gigafactory 3’s battery facility will not produce cells since Tesla China is getting cells from suppliers—like LG Chem and CATL. GF3’s battery facility or Phase 1.5 will only assemble battery packs and powertrains.
GF4’s “cell” building seems to be large enough to host an actual battery cell production line, similar to the ones found in GF1 in Nevada. GF1 has several battery cell lines that are being operated by Panasonic, and these are improved and optimized all the time.
Tesla has suggested that it would be getting into the battery cell production business in the past. Elon Musk and other Tesla execs said as much during the 2019 Annual Shareholder Meeting. A CNBC report also stated that Tesla is already testing its own cell design in CA, based on info from current and former employees.
According to a GF4 job listing filed by Tesla in early December 2019, the automaker has been searching for battery engineers who will be responsible for “novel detailed designs for wide range systems from electrolyte to high-purity water" as well.
Electrive stated that knowledge of electrolytes and ultrapure water are two significant criteria for someone who will be working with battery cells. As such, Tesla’s battery engineer job listing strongly indicated that the carmaker may be planning to produce its own battery cells.
So based on the figure in a recent Tesla filing in Germany, a massive facility for GF4 marked “cell” will be built. It hints that Tesla could be building a site for the production of battery cells (perhaps for vehicles and even energy storage). There are also past reports that Tesla has been looking to make its own cells. The “cell” building’s location also suggests that it may be part of GF4’s later phases (and thus, will be built later on).
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