Tesla to Build Next Gigafactory in United States

According to Tesla’s Q3 10-Q Form for 2020, which has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tesla plans to build its next Gigafactory in the United States. The information appears to show up in the section headlined “Management Opportunities, Challenges, and Risks,” in which Tesla lists its four existing factories in California, Shanghai, Berlin, and Texas, plus one factory listed as “U.S. Location(s) TBD.”

The available information indicates Tesla apparently plans to manufacture its Semi and Roadster models at the planned Gigafactory. The status is listed as “In Development.”

Elon Musk has dropped hints that a third U.S. factory was possible as early as August, when he told Automotive News‘ podcast, “I think at some point there will be a third Gigafactory. … I think that’s very likely.”

Musk has also indicated plans to enter the India market “next year for sure,” which has led to speculation that he might have changed his mind and planned to put the new Gigafactory in India instead. That would have helped Tesla consumers in India get around tariffs that can be as high as the original cost of the vehicle. Tesla already has plans to open a research and development center in India.

There is some possibility that Tesla will place the new Gigafactory somewhere in the United States’ East Coast region. This will help to reduce wait times for the delivery of new Tesla orders to be delivered in the eastern United States. Currently, new Tesla owners have to wait for their vehicles to be delivered from the Fremont, California factory.

The 10-Q filing also indicates an interest in ramping up the production capacity of its new battery technologies: “Moreover, we must meet ambitious technological targets with our plans for battery cells as well as for iterative manufacturing and design improvements for our vehicles with each new factory.”

It remains to be seen whether the new Gigafactory will manufacture of Tesla’s new “tabless” lithium-ion battery, which reportedly requires fewer moving parts and less water to make. It would seem likely, considering that Musk has recently shown an interest in sustainability. Tesla has made deals with Canadian mining companies to supply “low-carbon” nickel produced in a way that would reduce the amount of mining-related waste that needs to be discarded, for instance.

Tesla’s pattern of acquisitions seems to indicate that it is very interested in keeping control of the sources of its batteries. Most recently, it acquired a 10 percent stake in LG Energy Solution and made a deal to acquire a battery assembly factory called German ATW Automation.

Tesla does plan on making batteries at its new Gigafactory. Using the new “tabless” technology may help Tesla avoid issues like the unpaid bill that led to the water temporarily being shut off at the Gigafactory under construction in Berlin.

Elon Musk has indicated that construction at the new United States Gigafactory could begin within four or five years, though it would be a good idea to take nothing for granted, considering that a location has not yet even been decided on.