Tesla applied for a permit to extend Gigafactory Texas with a building to produce cathodes for battery production. The Giga Texas cathode plant will likely contribute to Tesla’s 4680 production plans in Austin.
“I can confirm that this is for the Tesla project, and this permit is for a cathode building,” an Austin city spokesperson told Reuters on Thursday. She added that the city had no further information on the subject.
In Tesla’s Q4 and Full Year Earnings Call, CEO Elon Musk confirmed that Giga Texas Model Y vehicles will be equipped with the company’s structural battery pack and 4680 cells. He announced that Model Y vehicles built in late 2021 were already built with Tesla’s structural battery pack and 4680 cells.
According to Tesla Senior VP of Powertrain and Energy Engineering, Drew Baglino, the company is making progress with 4680 and pack tool installations at Giga Texas. Tesla is also seeing significant improvements in ramping its 4680 cell production in Kato back in California. Baglino noted that Tesla was building 4680 structural packs every day, which were assembled into vehicles in Texas.
Tesla plans to start customer deliveries of Model Ys made in Giga Texas once it receives final certification. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality approved Tesla’s manufacturing facility in Austin on January 20, 2022. However, Tesla still has a few other permits pending with the commission.
Tesla’s cathode plant application was filed on Wednesday, February 2, and reported by Electrek on Thursday. The application’s current status reads it is “CC Pending.”
The cathode facility’s pending application will probably not interfere with Tesla’s production plans in 2022. Baglino stated at the Q4 2021 earnings call that Tesla’s suppliers exceeded factory-limiting constraints.
“So throughout 2021, we focused on growing cell supply alongside our in-house 4680 effort to provide us flexibility and insurance as we attempt to grow as fast as possible,” stated Baglino. “As we sit today, sales from suppliers is actually–it sort of exceeds our other factory-limiting constraints that you mentioned, Elon, in 2022. Or to say differently, 4680 cells are not a constraint to our 2022 volume plans based on the information we have.”
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