This would clearly represent a new milestone for Tesla, as Giga Texas is ahead of the European factory (Berlin - Grunheide) in terms of building construction and volume production, the Austin factory being a more important and larger factory than Giga Berlin, believe it or not.
Giga Texas is in fact more than just a factory dedicated to the Model Y. Unlike Berlin, in Texas - the state that now serves as Tesla's fiscal headquarters - the long-awaited and controversial Cybertruck electric truck will be manufactured, the famous 4680 structural battery cells will be produced and it will also host future launches and events related to the latest developments of the electric car brand.
Cybertruck arrives at Giga Texas on 23 Jan 2022! It appears this is part of Tesla's Financial Results presentation upcoming on the 26th. Should be an exciting meeting with lots of product and timeline updates! You can see the arrival at 10:40 in my YouTube video @JoeTegtmeyer pic.twitter.com/A0cZY6xtWL— Joe Tegtmeyer (@JoeTegtmeyer) January 24, 2022
The Giga Shanghai example gives a lot to think about. In just a year, this gigafactory was built from scratch and delivered the first units of the Tesla Model 3 made in China (MIC). Now the Asian factory alone is responsible for almost half of Tesla's sales worldwide, after the record obtained in China in December with 70,602 deliveries.
With this reference and figures in mind, Tesla began the construction of these other two essential pillars to become a power in the automotive industry in terms of production capacity. Giga Berlin and Giga Texas started almost at the same time, in a sort of Tesla United States vs. Tesla Europe internal competition, with China (Giga Shanghai) as a reference.
The race to reach the finish line seems to be favoring Giga Texas - USA, which according to the latest information published by Fred Lambert from electrek, states that "… Tesla is currently doing test production batches, and it now aims to have some Model Y vehicles ready for deliveries by the end of the quarter.". The importance of this news is not only that Giga Texas will be beating Berlin in starting volume production, but that the Tesla Model Y coming out of Austin will have structural batteries with 4680 cells, something considered a key, very important feature for the future for Tesla.
For Elon Musk these batteries are a "manufacturing revolution" in the automotive industry. The battery structure is based on the use of large cylindrical cells (4680) that form a single battery pack installed in a single module. This way, the entire vehicle battery is an integral part of the structural platform on which the vehicle body itself is supported.
It remains to be seen – and confirmed - in both Texas and Europe, when production will actually begin; if whether all Model Ys initially leaving Giga Texas will feature structural batteries, and if some units will ship with traditional 2170s, until the supply of 4680s is enough to supply volume production, which is a very logical way to see the whole picture.
While waiting for official news (that Elon Musk will surely be giving when he visits Tesla Giga-Berlin in mid-February), everything makes us believe that Giga Texas will start volume production at any moment, right before the European plant.
All images courtesy of Tesla Inc.
Nico Caballero is the VP of Finance of Cogency Power, specializing in solar energy. He also holds a Diploma in Electric Cars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and enjoys doing research about Tesla and EV batteries. He can be reached at @NicoTorqueNews on Twitter. Nico covers Tesla and electric vehicle latest happenings at Torque News.