Everything is bigger in Texas, including factories.
Construction is well underway for Tesla's new Austin, Texas Gigafactory. Upon completion, it will be the home of the Tesla Cybertruck, the sci-fi design-inspired all-electric pickup truck that has forced mainstream automakers like Ford and GM to pick up the pace on their EV truck plans. The choice of the Texan capital made complete sense after state officials offered Tesla generous tax incentives and an extremely friendly business climate. Above all, Texas is the second-biggest state in the US and, therefore, has plenty of available land for the massive complex Tesla is building. And now it appears Tesla has even more plans for the lone-star state.
According to the Austin Business Journal, the automaker recently filed a 188-page application document with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to "operate a cell-manufacturing unit to produce the battery packs that are installed in the vehicle."
In other words, Tesla aims to build the Cybertruck's battery packs in-house. Everything will be under one roof. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has long desired to have battery production moved away from current suppliers like Panasonic and LG Chem. The benefits are enormous. For starters, the current supply chain model would immediately end. The coronavirus pandemic has harshly reminded the auto industry the supply chain is extremely fragile.
Even if an automaker manages to get its factory up and running with social distancing, etc., it doesn't mean said factory can fully function. Without essential vehicle components provided by suppliers, final assembly cannot happen.
There's a very good chance Texas authorities will approve Tesla's latest request. One of Tesla's many new projects includes major battery tech advancements, evidenced by what was revealed last month at its Battery Day event. Some highlights were plans to develop a "million mile" battery and an initiative to seriously cut the cost of battery cells and packs to just $100 per kilowatt-hour.
Unfortunately, it's now impossible to seek comment from Tesla on any official matter because it recently closed its entire public relations department.