The rumors are true. Tesla is moving into a “new product line”: battery cell manufacturing. According to new job listings, the automaker is building a new cell manufacturing line in Fremont, California, and interestingly, it’s also looking for cell technicians in Colorado.
For a few months now, Tesla has been rumored to be working on making its own battery cells for its electric vehicles.
It started with the acquisition of Maxwell, a supercapacitor manufacturer with some battery cell technology, and later at its annual shareholder’s meeting, Tesla all but confirmed that it’s going to manufacture its own battery cells.
Later, we also learned that Tesla was making battery cell manufacturing equipment at a lab in Fremont.
Now we have confirmation from Tesla that they are working on a manufacturing line for battery cells in the form of a job listing.
Tesla has listed a job for a “manufacturing technician” in “Cell Manufacturing,” and they wrote in the listing:
Tesla is currently seeking a Technician for a manufacturing line we are developing. You’ll be part of a new product line we are developing.
The job is Fremont, but Tesla doesn’t specify whether it’s at the Fremont factory. The automaker has several locations around its main plant.
Either way, it appears to be the first official mention from Tesla that they plan to have a battery cell manufacturing line.
Furthermore, Tesla is also listing jobs for cell designers, analysts, and testers.
“Cell Technician” caught my attention because the job location is listed as Broomfield, Colorado.
Tesla is not known to have any R&D or manufacturing facility in Colorado. Yet they list a job that they say mostly consists of making battery cell prototypes. Here’s the job description:
We are looking for an Engineering Technician to assist anode development and optimization R&D. Candidates should be familiar with Li-ion cell chemistry and have experience building and assembling cells for performance testing. This candidate will be a key member of a cross-functional product development team. This job includes the fabrication of laboratory scale Li-ion anodes, electrode processing, laboratory scale Li-ion cell builds, and data analysis. The primary responsibilities of this position will be to assist in experimental planning and to carry out experiments and analysis.
In recent months, Tesla executives have been talking about taking battery cell supply into ther own hands to make sure they have the volume needed for all their different product lines.
Tesla currently buy cells from Panasonic made in Japan for Model S and Model X, as well as cells made by Panasonic at Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada for Model 3.
This is exciting stuff on two different levels.
Yes, it would be nice for Tesla to get involved in battery cell production at a deeper level than the partnership with Panasonic and increase the volume, which is going to be useful for Tesla’s future vehicle programs, like Tesla Semi, Model Y, etc.
But I am also excited because Tesla making its own batteries also likely means an improvement in battery technology and cost.
That’s probably where Maxwell’s technology, which Tesla acquired earlier, is coming into play.
I expect more news on this to come out in the coming months.
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