This week, Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting and the long awaited Battery Day will tentatively take place on September 15. He also said the Battery Day event would include a tour of a battery cell production area. Pressed for the location of that tour, Musk confirmed it would probably take place in Fremont.
Which raises the question of where in Fremont, exactly? So far as we know, Tesla is not making batteries at the main factory in Fremont. Writing in Tesmanian, Eva Fox says she thinks she knows the answer. Tesla reportedly has a semi-secret battery “skunk works” at a facility on Kato Road in Fremont just a few minutes away from the factory. “According to reports, Tesla research teams are currently focusing on the development and prototyping of advanced lithium-ion batteries, as well as new equipment and processes that can allow Tesla to produce cells in high volumes,” she says.
In May, rumors were floating around that Tesla had struck a deal with Hanwha Group of South Korea to purchase battery-making equipment. Zachary Shahan reported that story, then got a request from Hanwha to delete it because something was not accurate. When he asked for an explanation as to what exactly was not accurate, he got no response. Tesmanian reported the same information in its latest story.
Then there is the following. In March of this year, Tesla submitted a plan to reconstruct the property at 47700 Kato Road. It says, “For baseline conditions, the existing site accommodates 300 employees with Research & Development Manufacturing job functions. The Project proposes to redevelop the existing site by adding floors to the 47700 Kato Road building. The redeveloped site will accommodate the following employees and job functions: 45 research and development employees and up to 425 manufacturing employees, spread over several shifts Monday through Friday.”
Tesla has recently posted job openings for a cell engineer for cell physics modeling, a production process engineer, and a controls engineer for Tesla’s pilot cell manufacturing line. In February, PG&E approved a request by Tesla to add 6 MW of power to the Kato Road building.
TESLA KATO ROAD / PAGE AVENUE FACILITY INCREASES ITS POWER DEMAND BY 6 MW pic.twitter.com/UsCv9npPmI
— JPR007 (@jpr007) June 22, 2020
With all this intrigue swirling around, Battery Day should prove to be most interesting. Is Tesla operating a new battery assembly line to make the tabless battery cells it patented recently? If so, will this enable faster production or cheaper production?
Presumably, all of our questions will be answered once Battery Day finally takes place in about 3 month’s time. We can’t wait.
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