Tesla plans more construction near gigafactory east of Austin

Tesla Inc. has signaled it wants to build more near its huge factory in eastern Travis County.

The Elon Musk-led electric vehicle company on July 1 filed a site plan application for “industrial use facilities with associated improvements” on 68 acres next to the gigafactory.

The application, filed under the name “Production Support Area,” indicates the proposed land use is for manufacturing, but beyond that details remain elusive. Yet it fits into the expected development pattern as Musk figures out what to do with more than 2,500 acres his companies have purchased near the Colorado River east of Austin.

In the absence of any comment from Tesla, these public filings provide the clearest picture of what’s being planned on the headquarters campus of the second-largest Central Texas public company by revenue.

The applicant for the filing, Tesla civil engineer Logan Grant, declined to comment.

Austin-based Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) in February filed a site plan application for what it calls “Project Cathode” on 36 acres nearby — potentially for manufacturing its own batteries, according to reports at the time. In March, the company filed a site plan application for “Giga Texas LCRA Permanent Switchyard & BESS” — BESS being an acronym for battery energy storage system. That project could be part of an effort to “try and mitigate problems that come with the state’s unreliable electric grid,” Electrek reported in March.

The permit for Project Cathode was approved in June, city records show.

It’s no secret that Tesla has been planning to manufacture batteries in house. Musk said in May that its factories in Austin and Berlin “are gigantic money furnaces right now.” Tesla has been struggling with battery shortages and global supply chain bottlenecks, The Washington Post reported in June.

In late June, Tesla filed a site plan application for above-ground piping and underground plumbing for 500,000 new square feet of space. The application is related to an expansion of the gigafactory, Electrek reported.

Tesla filed a site plan application for “Bobcat Project” in April 2021 on land near the gigafactory. The city last October approved a permit for “construction drives, utilities, ponds, and other associated improvements” at the site. A related project, dubbed “East Campus Site Improvements,” was proposed to the city July 12.

And the flurry of projects aren’t constrained only to Tesla.

Just last month, Musk’s The Boring Company filed a site plan application for a “private access tunnel along with associated improvements” near the gigafactory. The proposal appears to be for a tunnel underneath the Colorado River, according to city of Austin zoning maps.

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