Say what you will about their products, but it’s hard to deny Tesla’s dedication to US manufacturing with the new Texas Gigafactory. It’s set to employ 5,000 people, and many robots, to build the Tesla Cybertruck, Model Y and eventual Semi. But according to a report by the Austin Business Journal, Tesla is also considering producing their own proprietary batteries in the massive production site.
The Journal cites a 188-page document submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which is an application to, “operate a cell-manufacturing unit to produce the battery packs that are installed in the vehicle.” If that doesn’t sound like Tesla will build batteries in Texas, we don’t know what does. It makes a lot of sense at the business level, too.
Right now, Tesla relies on batteries from suppliers such as Panasonic, LG Chem and CATL to power their current lineup of vehicles, as well as future products like the Cybertruck and Roadster. But throughout the company’s history, Elon Musk has expressed interest in moving battery production in house, cutting much of the supply chain. Coronavirus has exposed just how unpredictable it can be, and how production at the automaker can be halted because of one simple supplier issue.
This would also allow Tesla to implement some of the battery advancements they announced at Battery Day last month. One prime example is their goal to make the “Million Mile Battery,” however they plan to do that. By developing and producing batteries in house, Tesla will have more control over the entirety of their vehicles and production system.
Chances are, Texas will be just fine with this. It’ll likely bring more jobs to the Gigafactory, and result in some good publicity for the state for allowing these new jobs, and being on the forefront of battery tech in the US.
We all refer to California as Silicon Valley, but if Elon has anything to do about it, that term may soon be applicable to Texas as well.