Tesla's huge expansion plans at Giga Texas
Tesla has been looking to expand Gigafactory Texas since its opening, but the scope of the electric vehicle automaker’s plans hasn’t been exactly clear. Now, Tesla has filed official documents for multiple expansion projects, set to yield huge increases to production capacity, surface area and the reach of the factory’s various projects.
Above: Tesla's Gigafactory in Austin, Texas. (Image: Tesla)
A filing dated January 9 shows that Tesla is planning to invest $717 million into expansion projects to construct buildings covering an additional 1.4 million square feet, according to a report from Austin Business Journal (via CNBC). The filings, submitted to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, show plans for a wide range of developments including battery cell testing, manufacturing, cathode manufacturing, drive units and a die shop, all alongside other plans still.
The expansion plans include four separate buildings, and while the details may still be subject to change, the project will eventually result in a massive overhaul of the plant’s current operations. Tesla has filed for the buildings as new construction projects, for “ground up and complete interior finish out of the manufacturing facility.”
According to the filing, Tesla’s largest new building will cover 693,093 square feet and has been dubbed “Cell 1.” The Cell 1 building is expected to cost $368 million, with construction set to run from January 23, 2023 to February 12, 2024.
The second-largest building is listed with a surface area of 423,032 square feet and will include an $85 million investment to complete. Called “Drive Unit,” the building will begin construction on February 6, 2023, lasting until January 15, 2024.
The next-largest building is aptly-named “Cathode,” and assuming they’re the same project, it was originally reported last February after Tesla filed for up to 36 acres. Austin Business Journal notes that it isn’t yet clear if this is the same building that was detailed in a February 2 filing last year, though the similar cathode naming convention would suggest that it is. Reports showed that Tesla had already begun construction on this project last August.
Finally, the smallest of Tesla’s four new buildings is the “Cell Test Lab,” which is only rated for 2,560 square feet or the size of an average coffee shop. As for costs, the Cell Test Lab will be priced around $3.7 million, with the construction project running from January 30, 2023 to August 25, 2023.
Tesla also filed for a 174,979-square-foot expansion project dubbed “Plastics” in December, with construction expected to begin late last month. Upon completion of the expansion projects, the total surface footprint of Tesla’s Giga Texas is expected to increase to roughly 5.6 million square feet.
The news is just the latest in Tesla’s worldwide expansion plans, and it comes ahead of the automaker’s plans to produce the Cybertruck at its Texas facility later this year. Tesla is already the biggest manufacturing plant in Central Texas, and these expansions will increase that lead while adding crucial, multi-step production projects for the elements needed to build EVs.