Tesla Looks to Double Down in California With New Battery Plant

Tesla is prepping to build a battery facility in Fremont, Calif., in another sign it plans to make its own batteries and is looking at Fremont as the place to do it.
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Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Report is prepping to build a battery research and manufacturing facility in Fremont, Calif., in another sign the electric carmaker is both looking to produce its own batteries, and also doubling down on California as the place to do it.

Citing city government documents, Reuters reported that Tesla was looking to construct a battery manufacturing operation in Fremont.

While it currently has a “small-scale” battery manufacturing facility, the planned expanded operation that Tesla has filed applications to build would run around the clock under a project dubbed Roadrunner, according to the report.

The announcement follows unofficial news that Tesla will hold its so-called Battery Day event on Sept. 15, the day of the company's shareholders meeting when it will reveal details about its “million mile” battery.

In a tweet last Friday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed the date for the event, which was originally planned for April and then bumped back to July due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The new battery facility fits with that timeline. The company estimates that construction of the project can be completed in about three months, according to Reuters.

Currently, Tesla makes batteries with Japan's Panasonic at its gigafactory near Reno, Nevada. Tesla also has battery contracts with South Korea's LG Chem and China's Contemporary Amperex Technology.

The expansion of Tesla’s Fremont operations also suggests a change of heart for Musk, who had threatened to "immediately" relocate Tesla's headquarters to Nevada or Texas amid the pandemic and ordered shutdown of all non-essential businesses in California.

The company had filed a lawsuit against Alameda County over a shelter-in-place order that temporarily hampered operations at the carmaker's main factory in Fremont, Calif. It later dropped the action.

Shares of Tesla were down 1.02% at $951.03 in trading on Thursday.