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Tesla Wants to Make Batteries - and Lots of Them - In Austin

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If Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report has its way, it will soon be cranking out lots and lots of batteries for its electric vehicles from its Austin, Texas factory.

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 - a more formal term for what the company calls a Gigafactory.

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.”

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.

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.

It also follows 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.

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