Project Roadrunner's Progress

by Gill D on August 25, 2020

Tesla’s Battery Day is less than a month away and the EV industry is waiting in anticipation for the highly publicized event. It will be combined with the annual shareholders meeting where Elon Musk is reported to be holding a lottery to randomly pick shareholders to attend (due to COVID-10 group gathering policies)

But the real focus is on Tesla’s pilot battery production line that seems to be progressing at a rapid rate. Recently, there was a drone flyover of the Tesla building at Kato Road, which is situated in close proximity to Tesla’s Fremont factory.

The drone footage was recorded by a Tesla fan, Gabeincal, who has a YouTube channel. In the published video, it shows that Kato Road facility is well on its well with its expansion. The short video indicates that a lot of work is actually being done inside the building, considering the large number of materials being transported into the huge building. Tesla is building an extra floor which is showing remarkable progress compared to the photographs taken earlier last month.

Tesla is known to be a fast-moving company and any project it undertakes is done with speed and professionalism. We saw this a few weeks ago with the rapid progress at the Berlin Gigafactory so seeing continued improvements is not big news.

Although, this is somewhat unique in that the Kato Road building is not just another electric vehicle assembly line. This is expected to be the manufacturing spot for Tesla’s own battery production system. Tesla CEO, Elon Musk has always been open and enthusiastic about Battery Day, hinting to us that the event is going to done in real Tesla style. This usually means people will get their minds blown away. Musk has also said he wants to include a tour of Tesla’s in-house battery cell production line.

Tesla does not copy, Tesla innovates. So, this cell production system is going to be one of a kind. We know that Tesla partnered with other battery firms in the past., such as Panasonic partnered for Gigafactory Nevada, and LG Chem and CATL partnered for Gigafactory Shanghai. So even though Tesla used battery partners in the past, the EV carmaker has also been putting together its own manufacturing design to produce Tesla batteries for better performance. This was mentioned last year when Tesla executives described the future battery production as a step towards Tesla becoming the master of its own “destiny.”

Filings were made to the City of Fremont, which removed any doubt that Tesla’s Kato Road facilities are certainly going to be used for the Roadrunner Project. This project refers to Tesla’s own custom battery cell production line. The detail and designs of the “Roadrunner” cells have not been disclosed officially to the public but we know the batteries are going to be next-generation lithium-ion cells that are capable of lasting a million miles. Musk has often commented about a future million mile battery. When Tesla pulls this off, it will be a giant leap forward for the auto manufacturer.

Once the Kato Road facility is completed, it is expected to accommodate about 45 research and development employees and around 425 manufacturing workers. This will definitely help ramp up production for the Plaid Model S and the new Roadster. More job openings are being published for the Kato Road location as Tesla advertises vacancies for Cell Engineers, Production Process Engineers, and Controls Engineers.

Watch the recent footage of Tesla’s “Roadrunner” construction site here.

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