Tesla’s pilot battery cell production line in Fremont, CA may be built in a site that spans less than 200,000 square feet, but it is poised to be one of the world’s largest battery plants by output nonetheless. With an expected annual output of 10 GWh, Tesla’s “Roadrunner” line for its 4680 cells will likely produce enough batteries to support the production of some of the company’s vehicles.
During the electric car maker’s recently-held third-quarter earnings call, Tesla Senior Vice President of Powertrain and Energy Engineering Drew Baglino provided some details about how the batteries produced at the Fremont pilot line would be used. When asked if Gigafactory Berlin will start its cell production activities at the same time as its Model Y ramp, the executive noted that the 4680 batteries from the Fremont site could be used to support the German factory’s initial operations.
“We will incorporate 4680 design solutions into many applications in time across both energy and vehicle and we can use our pilot production facility in Fremont to support the new factory in Berlin as it ramps,” Baglino remarked.
Tesla’s pilot line for its custom 4680 cells is set up in the company’s Kato Road facility, located very close to the Fremont Factory. During Battery Day, Musk and Baglino emphasized that the facility is still a work in progress, though it has the capability to produce an estimated 10 GWh worth of 4680 batteries when it’s fully operational. With such an output, Tesla’s pilot battery cell line would produce roughly a quarter of Gigafactory Nevada’s production today.
That’s very impressive, especially considering that the Kato Road facility only covers 184,880 sq ft, a fraction of Gigafactory Nevada’s current size. This, if any, provides a pretty clear hint at just how far Tesla has gone with its battery production efficiencies. Considering that a rather compact pilot line is already capable of producing 10 GWh worth of batteries per year, a Gigafactory-sized site would certainly be able to produce far more.
Elon Musk has mentioned that Gigafactory Berlin will be getting its own battery cell production facility. That being said, the company does intend to begin Model Y production by next year. With this in mind, exporting 4680 cells to the facility for the all-electric crossover does appear to be a sound strategy, at least until Giga Berlin could start producing its own batteries onsite.
The Made-in-Germany Model Y is expected to be built with several new innovations, such as single-piece casts and a new paint shop. With the all-electric crossover now expected to receive 4680 cells from Tesla’s pilot battery production line as well, it is becoming more and more evident that Giga Berlin’s Model Y will definitively be a cut above its competition.