Tesla is developing its own cells in-house at ‘secret battery lab’, report says

Tesla is developing its own cells in-house at a “secret battery lab” as it prepares to launch its own battery cell manufacturing, according to a report.

As we reported earlier this month, Tesla all but confirmed that it’s going to make its own battery cells with its new Maxwell technology.

Now CNBC reports that the cells are being developed in a “secret lab” near Tesla’s Fremont factory:

“Tesla employees conduct some of their battery cell manufacturing research at a ‘skunkworks lab’ at the company’s Kato Road facility, a few minutes from its car plant in Fremont, California.”

The automaker’s lab is not so secret.

Tesla had a secure location on the second floor of the Fremont factory to work on battery cells for the better part of the last decade. We reported on it in our article ‘The argument for Tesla’s JB Straubel being the world’s foremost expert in batteries.’

Now it sounds like it has been moved to the Kato Road facility.

CNBC reports that Tesla is developing its own cells and equipment to produce them at the facility:

“Employees in Tesla’s battery R&D teams are now focused on designing and prototyping advanced lithium ion battery cells, as well as new equipment and processes that could allow Tesla to produce cells in high volumes, employees and former employees said.”

For the cells in its electric vehicles, Tesla has been relying on Panasonic, which is making cells in Japan for the automaker’s Model S and Model X vehicles, as well as in Tesla’s own Gigafactory 1 in Nevada for Model 3.

Tesla is expected to announce its plan to expand battery production at an investor day by the end of the year.

Electrek’s Take

I have been saying that people have been sleeping on this news.

When Elon, JB, and Drew discussed it at the shareholders meeting, I thought it was clear as day that they are planning to produce their own battery cells and that it was the biggest news coming out of the meeting.

Yet, Electrek was basically the only publication reporting on it.

I am glad that it is starting to gain more traction now because this is a big deal, especially since it’s happening after the acquisition of Maxwell.

It also makes sense since Tesla has always been the automaker most involved in the production of its battery cells and now it sounds like they are taking over entirely.

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