Tesla Files Application to Manufacture EV Batteries at Freemont Facility

Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) pioneered the modern electric vehicle age when it first unveiled the Tesla Roadster in 2008. More than a decade later, the American automaker is the largest producer of electric vehicles on the planet, manufacturing and selling a total of 1,917,450 EVs since its inception. Given that Tesla is a company that strives to limit its reliance on suppliers, the carmaker has been keen on cornering a segment that has so far eluded the West: mass production of electric vehicle batteries.

The Austin, Texas, company recently filed an application to start building a new electric vehicle battery production line at its Fremont Factory located in California. Among the company’s first major acquisitions, the factory was bought in 2010 and boasts of being the only Tesla plant that manufactures all four Tesla models. If Tesla’s application is successful, Fremont Factory will join the EV maker’s Sparks, Nevada, Gigafactory in producing batteries for its EVs.

Based on its filings, it seems Tesla is considering a slight expansion of its cell production efforts at Fremont via the introduction of new manufacturing lines. Documents put the value of the project at $1.5 million, with Tesla describing the project as a “new battery manufacturing equipment line on 2nd floor of main assembly building. This permit application relates to the module portion of the line.”

Another application for the $1.3 million undertaking would see the carmaker install a new storage area and new maintenance office, as well as manufacturing cells having equipment to make fender, hood, trunk lids and offline battery-making equipment. The application lists this project on the assembly building’s first floor.

The addition of these projects to a factory that is notorious for having limited space is sure to raise some eyebrows. During an early 2022 visit to the Fremont Factory, analysts from Morgan Stanley noted that the plant was inefficiently designed and was running at more than 20% of its maximum capacity. Adam Jonas from Morgan Stanley pointed out that the factory seemed to be quite constrained in regards to storage space and room in general, stating that one of the company’s assembly buildings was essentially a tent where cars were assembled.

Despite this, Tesla is looking to boost its local EV battery production capacity. Although it already has battery supply deals with battery makers such as CATL, LG Chem and Panasonic, Tesla has begun efforts to build EV battery cells in-house. In 2020, the company unveiled the  4680 battery cell that it had built at the Kato Rd. Facility and prototype tested by Panasonic.

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