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Tesla Seeks Approval to Make Batteries at New Texas Plant

Tesla won’t only be assembling its Cybertruck at its new Gigafactory in Austin, Texas, when it turns on the switch: The company also plans to make batteries.

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report won’t only be assembling the Cybertruck at its new Gigafactory in Austin, Texas, when it turns on the switch next year: The company also plans to mass-produce batteries.

Tesla has filed documents with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality seeking permission to operate a “cell-manufacturing unit” at what it calls Tesla Giga Austin.

According to a 188-page air-quality permit application filed sometime between July and last month, Tesla is proposing “to operate a cell-manufacturing unit to produce the battery packs that are installed in the vehicle.”

GHD Services, which reportedly submitted the registration on Tesla's behalf, said in the application that six nitrogen-blanketed tanks, each with a volume of 20,000 liters, will be necessary to manufacture the cells, according to reports.

The environmental permit application was first reported by the Austin Business Journal.

At Tesla's "Battery Day" event last month. CEO Elon Musk outlined the company’s longer-term technology goals, including mass-producing a so-called million mile battery that will go farther, last longer and be cheaper to produce. That followed Musk’s announcement in July that Tesla had chosen Austin as the site of its next plant.

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In addition to building the Cybertruck, Semi and Roadster, all of which are still in development, the company’s second U.S. vehicle-assembly factory also will make the Model Y crossover for East Coast customers.

The move follows Tesla’s longer-term objective of being master of its own supply chain, literally from the ground up. Tesla last month secured its own lithium mining rights in Nevada, taking the electric vehicle maker a step closer to its plan of mass-producing less-expensive batteries.

That followed Tesla’s announcement in June that it will purchase cobalt, the key raw material used to make its electric car batteries, from Baar, Switzerland-based Glencore, the world’s biggest cobalt miner, as the electric carmaker looks to avoid a future supply squeeze.

To be sure, Tesla's longer-term battery production ambitions are no secret. Tesla Daily contributor Rob Maurer noted on Thursday that Musk himself shared more about the plans in a series of battery- and tech-jargon-y tweets.

"[Giga] Berlin will use [Tesla's in-house] 4680 cell with structural battery pack & front & rear single piece castings. Also, a new paint system. Lot of new technology will happen in Berlin, which means significant production risk. Fremont & Shanghai will transition in ~2 years when new tech is proven," Musk wrote.

Shares of Tesla were up 0.87% at $429.62 in trading on Friday.