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Tesla is running into issues building battery cells at Gigafactory Berlin

Tesla is reportedly running into problems establishing battery cell production at Gigafactory Berlin, and it is moving battery manufacturing equipment to Texas.

For over two years now, Tesla has been working to build its own battery cells with a new 4680 format. The plan is critical to the company’s long-term growth as it powers its next generation of electric vehicles using a new structural battery pack architecture.

Tesla is currently building the cells at its pilot plant in Fremont, California, but the automaker’s goal was to achieve volume production of the 4680 battery cell by the end of the year at Gigafactory Texas. The automaker also planned to establish battery cell production at Gigafactory Berlin on a similar timeline.

Now a report from Germany’s Handelsblatt suggests that Tesla is putting the plan on hold in Berlin:

The fact that Tesla will not start full battery cell production in its German plant in Grünheide for the time being apparently has other reasons than lower energy costs and new tax incentives in the USA worth billions. Several sources close to the electric car manufacturer report a significant delay in a crucial but highly complex production technique.

The publication had previously reported that Tesla planned to move some battery cell manufacturing equipment from Gigafactory Berlin to Gigafactory Texas. The move was suspected of having something to do with the new tax credit for electric vehicles in the US that forces automakers to use battery cells produced locally.

Now they report that only the machines for electrode production are going to remain on site and everything else is going to be moved to the US.

The reason behind the move is not completely clear, but Handelsblatt says that Tesla wants to focus on successfully deploying its dry coating of the electrodes in the US first:

This is not a rejection of Grünheide. Tesla boss Elon Musk wants to continue to build a battery cell plant in Brandenburg in the long term. But before that, the electric car manufacturer has to get the so-called dry coating of the electrodes under control. A total of five experts, two of whom are close to Tesla, report that test systems with the technology are currently running quite successfully, but that implementation in large series is lacking.

Tesla has previously disclosed that the dry coating process is part of the bottleneck preventing the automaker from achieving volume production of the battery cells.

The last official comment from the company is that it was still confident that volume production would be achieved at Gigafactory Texas by the end of the year.

Electrek’s Take

It would indeed make sense to nail the production process in one place before deploying it in another. Also, if the rumors about Tesla getting blade battery cells from BYD for Gigafactory Berlin are true, Tesla might already have the cells it needs to ramp up production at Gigafactory Berlin.

It would explain why Tesla is OK with falling behind with cell production in Germany.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.

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