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Tesla opens Canadian factory as it ups plans for commercial use of its 4680 lithium-ion cells

Tue, 11/16/2021 - 14:24 -- Paul Crompton

Electric vehicle pioneer Tesla has opened a factory in Canada to produce battery manufacturing equipment.

The facility in the city of Markham, Ontario will produce battery manufacturing equipment for use in the company’s gigafactories.

Tesla has not responded to BEST’s questions.

However, on social media platform Twitter, Markham’s city mayor Frank Scarpitti wrote on 4 November: “Welcome tesla look forward to official launch. You are a great edition the “future car” cluster of companies in City of Markham.”

The post included a image that read: "The facility will be the first branded Tesla Canada manufacturing facility in Canada and will produce state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment to be used at the Gigafactories located around the world in the production of batteries."

Markham City official Bryan Frois told news outlet Reuters that the Markham facility opened this summer, marking an expansion of another site in neighbouring Richmond Hill.

In 2019, Tesla bought Canada-based Hibar Systems, which offered advanced automated vacuum filling systems for lithium-ion battery applications for use in hybrid electric vehicles.

In September, 2020, Tesla senior vice president Andrew Baglino said at the firm’s Battery Day event that its "vertical integration" with Hibar and others would allow them to build batteries faster and scale up production of its 4680 battery cells, reported news outlet Reuters.

Tesla has been making the 4680 (80mm X 46mm) cells at its Kato facility in California, US.

The 4680 cells increase EV range by 16% and deliver six times more power over its existing 2170 batteries, which have an energy density of 247Wh/kg and a 4.8Ah/17.3Wh capacity, claim Tesla.

Last month, Tesla’s long-term battery partner Panasonic revealed a 4680 cell, which it plans to begin test production of next year.

Tesla signs material deal

Chinese lithium company Ganfeng Lithium, and its unit GFL International, have signed a contract to supply battery-grade lithium hydroxide to Tesla. 

Ganfeng supplies battery-grade lithium to EV producers including Tesla, with the latest deal to supply products to the OEM for three years starting from 2022.

The sales amount and value of the contract are still pending Tesla's purchase orders, according to the filing to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

The deal comes following a 91% increase in lithium hydroxide CIF Asia prices this year to $19,250 a tonne, according to Benchmark’s Lithium Price Assessment. 

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