Tesla to open Canada battery gear factory in Markham, Ontario -mayor

FILE PHOTO: A wheel of a prototype of the Tesla Model 3 on display in front of the factory in Sparks

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Tesla Inc <TSLA.O> opened a factory to produce battery manufacturing equipment in the Canadian city of Markham, Ontario, the city said on Friday, as the electric carmaker ramps up the production of cheaper, higher-range 4680 battery cells.

In 2019, the U.S. electric carmaker acquired Canada-based Hibar, which manufactures pumps used in fast-speed battery assembly that Tesla is introducing for its new 4680 cells.

“I’m delighted to share that Tesla Canada is joining our already robust automotive and technology ecosystem by locating a manufacturing facility in the City of Markham,” the city mayor Frank Scarpitti said on Twitter.

“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.”

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

Tesla did not immediately comment on the mayor’s tweet. Last year, Tesla senior vice president Andrew Baglino said at the 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.

Baglino said last month that Tesla will start delivering its first vehicles with 4680 batteries early next year, but added that “this is a new architecture and unknown unknowns may exist still.”

Tesla currently builds the 4680 cells at its pilot factory in California and plans to start their production at its upcoming factories in Texas and Berlin.

(This story officially corrects to mention city official clarifies that the plant has already opened, not plans to open.)

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by David Gregorio)