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Tesla May Expand China Factory: More Powertrain Production, New Batteries

Tesla has reportedly filed paperwork with the intent to expand its EV factory in China, coined Giga Shanghai. The potential expansion would allow the US EV maker to produce more powertrains and up the number of vehicles it can manufacture. In addition, Tesla applied to produce its own battery cells at the factory. 

Tesla’s Giga Shanghai produces Model 3 and Model Y vehicles for domestic consumption, as well as export. The factory currently has the production capacity to produce just shy of 1 million EVs annually. It produced 726,000 units in 2022. However, despite what we may have heard about demand concerns, it seems Tesla doesn’t believe the factory’s production capacity is as high as it needs to be. 

The Tesla factory in China started producing EVs in December 2019, just one year after factory construction began. Since then, it has become a major focal point for Tesla, and the most successful EV factory in the world. It was the company’s second car factory, following the Fremont factory in California, which produces all four current Tesla models. 

According to a recent report published by Reuters, Tesla has requested regulatory approval to expand the factory and add a small battery line. The publication says an updated public notice shared that the potential expansion project could afford Giga Shanghai the ability to produce 1.75 million powertrains per year. Currently, the factory’s annual powertrain production capacity is capped at 1.25 million. 

The battery filing reportedly shows that Tesla also plans to begin producing its own pouch battery cells on-site. Tesla typically uses cylindrical battery cells, though it’s now offering some “Standard Range” base models with LFP battery chemistry in the form of pouch cells. 

The publication notes that the application for the battery production line refers to it as a smaller, pilot line capable of producing 20,000 amp hours of cells annually. Reuters says this is equivalent to the power of the cells in a single Model Y battery pack.