Tesla not only wants to build the Model Y in Grünheide, but also manufacture battery cells. A second factory is currently being built there. The production of a new cell type with a higher power density is planned. The production of dry electrodes should get by with significantly less space and energy consumption. That would reduce the cost per kilowatt hour of energy content.
With the new cell type, it should be possible to extend the range by 16 percent compared to the previous cells. Overall, significantly fewer cells are to be built into the vehicle, but the range is increased due to the higher performance. Initially, the Model Y in Grünheide is to be supplied with the batteries manufactured there; in the future, they will also be used in trucks, among other things. At Battery Day 2020, Tesla boss Elon Musk had already talked about innovations in battery technology last year and set the goal of 100 gigawatt hours per year or more.
Large project for battery cell production
Efficient and inexpensive batteries are a prerequisite for electromobility to establish itself in the mass market. So far, Europe has lagged behind Asia in particular in the production of battery cells for e-cars. In December 2020, the Federal Ministry of Economics submitted applications to the EU Commission to approve funding for the second major European project for battery cell production. According to the ministry, this includes almost 50 companies in 12 countries, including Tesla with the planned battery factory.
More than 1000 new employees are required for the battery plant in Brandenburg. The search has already started. Experts from the pharmaceutical, food, chemical, paper, printing, beverage and cigarette industries could also be deployed. When the battery factory will be applied for is still open. According to Tesla’s plans, the car factory is set to start producing vehicles in July 2021. In the first phase, up to 500,000 cars per year with around 12,000 employees will roll off the assembly line.
Other car manufacturers are also investing heavily in battery production. Volkswagen announced last year that it would increase the capacity of its planned battery cell factory in Salzgitter to up to 24 gigawatt hours per year. The group wants to build a production for battery cells in a total of three lines with the Swedish partner Northvolt, production start in Salzgitter should be in 2024.