Tesla-CATL partnership strengthens as new facility sends cells to Giga Shanghai

Tesla battery supplier Contemporary Amperex Technology’s (CATL) new facility near Gigafactory Shanghai is already sending cells to the electric automaker, strengthening the already robust partnership between the two companies, new reports suggest.

In June 2021, CATL said it planned to build a new electric vehicle battery production facility that would reportedly be located near Giga Shanghai, Tesla’s EV manufacturing facility in China. The June report indicated that the site could include a Research, Global Sales, and Operations Center. The new facility was supplemental assistance for CATL, as it announced it had trouble hiring and retaining staff in Ningde, where the battery maker’s headquarters is located. Shanghai offered more diversity in terms of recruiting talent, which was appealing for the cell manufacturer. CATL planned to hire at least 5,000 workers at the site.

Sources familiar with the matter stated that the new site would build enough battery cells to power 800,000 EVs every year. This pointed toward a potential capacity of 80 gigawatt-hours per year. The planned 80 GWh facility would supplement that already 69.1 GWh in current production and add to the additional 77.5 GWh under construction.

The supply chain may already be alive and at work, according to a new report from the Shanghai Observer, which reported that the new CATL facility is already supplying battery cells to Gigafactory Shanghai and has been since November. The source stated that the ramp-up phase is well underway, and CATL has already completed 60 percent of the design capacity for the site. CATL did not confirm the reports.

Tesla is working on expanding the production lines and capacity at Gigafactory Shanghai. In November, the company performed a routine Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and stated that it planned to increase the production capacity of “a new model line” by at least 50%. This can be assumed as the Model Y line, which already has 6,000 active employees. Tesla wants to increase the plant’s manufacturing capacity and bring an additional 3,000 workers to the Model Y line, bringing the total to 9,000 workers for the all-electric crossover’s production processes.

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