In its most recent 8-K report to the Securities & Exchange Commission, Tesla included photos of the progress it is making on building a battery assembly building and an assembly line for Model Y production at Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai. Also below is a drone video of the site from April 30 posted by Jason Yang. Let’s begin with the photo of the Model Y production facility under construction.
The assembly building is going up just as fast at the original Model 3 factory facility did last year, astonishing manufacturing experts around the world. The battery factory is shown on the left in the photo above. Here are photos of the outside and the inside of that facility:
If the battery area seems smaller than you expected it to be, that’s because the 2170 cells themselves are being manufactured offsite and delivered to the Shanghai facility from suppliers. At Gigafactory 1 in Nevada, the cells are being made in the same facility where the modules and packs are assembled, which requires considerably more space.
LG Chem is the first company supplying battery cells for the made-in-China cars, but Tesla is also talking with CATL about manufacturing battery cells. As we reported in February, CATL may be providing pouch cells that use lithium-iron-phosphate chemistry, which would be a first for Tesla. Although LFP has a lower energy density than traditional lithium-ion battery cells, it may cost less to produce and it eliminates the use of cobalt, a mineral that has attracted a lot of criticism from EV opponents because much of it is sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo where child labor is common. (Tesla says it doesn’t get any cobalt from Congo.)
Obviously, work on the Shanghai facility is proceeding with all deliberate speed, as they like to say in the Navy, with production of the Model Y expected to begin before the end of this year. For an overview of the entire factory area, watch the drone video below.
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