Tesla’s “new battery manufacturing equipment production line is located on the 2nd floor of the main assembly building. This application concerns the battery module portion of the production line.” Documents show the project is worth $1.5 million.
In addition, another application shows that Tesla has a project worth 1.3 million US dollars, including the establishment of a new maintenance office, a storage area and battery-related production equipment. The project is located on the 1st floor of the assembly building.
Image credit: Tesla
However, Tesla’s Fremont factory has limited space. Earlier this year, Tesla noted that storage capacity and space at the Fremont factory were generally very tight, even though the facility was operating at higher than peak utilization rates.
“Tesla peaked at around 300,000 vehicles before it took over from Toyota, but is now producing 450,000 vehicles,” Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas wrote in a note on a tour of the plant. Tesla doesn’t shy away from the fact that the factory is designed to be inefficient, with four assembly buildings, one of which is the marquee GA 4.5, where Tesla assembles cars.”
Two weeks before Morgan Stanley’s visit, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Tesla was considering a “significant” expansion of the Fremont factory. While it has been suggested that this could mean an increase in production, Musk seems to have been hinting at an overall expansion of the manufacturing process.
Tesla has battery supply agreements with Panasonic, CATL and LG Chem, but has also started producing its own batteries. In 2020, Tesla launched the 4680 battery, and Panasonic has conducted prototype testing. Tesla has been producing 4680 cells at its Kato Road plant near the Fremont factory, but has not yet started mass production. Since the 4680 battery has not yet achieved mass production, and its production has not been able to catch up with Tesla’s demand, it makes sense for Tesla to expand its internal battery capacity.
In the past month or so, Tesla has applied for a number of major renovations to the Fremont factory. It is reported that Tesla has submitted several applications to the city of Fremont, including the replacement of equipment locations, as well as the construction of new foundations and manufacturing facilities. Even utility poles have to be relocated to make way for potential new manufacturing buildings.
Tesla has also begun moving Model S and Model X production equipment to other areas of the plant. According to the document, “GASX” (which foreign media believes is “General Assembly Model S and X”) has relocated a lift. Tesla has also applied to install production tools and Model S/X-related manufacturing facilities at the plant.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the lineup of these two cars will expand, especially given that these two cars account for a very small percentage of sales. However, those production lines may be moved to other areas of the Fremont plant to make way for battery production lines that may soon be installed at the plant.