The initial production runs at Tesla’s Giga Texas facility are moving closer to reality. A new drone video from a local resident shows Giga Texas’s paint shop facility is set to begin construction soon as paint application machinery has arrived on site.
With Tesla scheduled to begin production at Giga Texas later this year, crews are on-site daily to complete what will be Tesla’s largest production facility to date. One of Giga Texas’s primary focuses is completing the work of the main structure, which appears to be coming along at a reasonably fast pace, something Tesla has displayed at its other manufacturing facilities in China and Germany. With Giga Texas several months into construction, specific areas of the facility are beginning to be erected as the first production runs move closer with every passing day.
A new shipment of containers was spotted at the facility on Monday evening by YouTube channel Terafactory Texas, who spotted seven large boxes that appear to be housing several elements of what will be the Giga Texas paint shop.
Three of the containers say “TC Mod, while three others say “E-Coat.” The final container says “Top Coat,” meaning all seven containers are likely headed to the paint shop as their descriptions align with machinery that would be found within an automotive paint application facility.
E-Coat, or electrocoating, also known as electropainting in some regions, is a process used in automotive paint shops everywhere. For several years, Tesla has used this process as evidence points to a 2012 blog post from the electric car manufacturer.
The company detailed its paint process to ensure quality and corrosion protection:
“First, a Body-in-White is submerged into our pre-treatment bath where the aluminum gets prepared for its first treatment layer. We then dip Model S into a 75,000-gallon tank of advanced electro-coating solution to enhance the appearance of subsequent paint layers. After this e-coat dip, the car goes through a 350° F oven to ensure a “baked on” protection against corrosion.”
E-Coating is a process that has been used for around 50 years, according to ClearClad.com. Originally used to apply an anti-corrosive coating to steel car bodies, the process is now used for various consumer goods like hardware, jewelry, eyeglass frames, and giftware, among several other things. Electrical activity around the vehicle’s surface makes paint resin stick directly to a surface, creating a strong bond between the car and the paint.
TC Mod could stand for “temperature control module,” which would indicate that these containers are carrying HVAC units that are ideal for paint shops. In order for paint to have a strong bond and set correctly on an automotive body, it must be applied and dried in certain conditions. These modules would ensure that Tesla’s paint application process is done at correct temperatures, eliminating any possibility of a weak paint application.
Tesla has worked extremely hard to improve the quality of its paint shops. After paint quality was among the most common complaints from owners, Tesla managed to revamp its facility at the Fremont factory last year as the pandemic slowed production. Several applications acquired by Teslarati showed that Tesla was working to increase fire protection efforts within the paint shop, among some other projects. It worked, as the paint has improved according to some owners, including veteran teardown expert Sandy Munro, who was extremely impressed with the quality of his Model 3’s paint job during a recent drive across the country.
Giga Texas is expected to handle Model 3 and Model Y production for the Eastern half of North America. It will also manufacture the Tesla Cybertruck in either late 2021 or early 2022.