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Tesla is operating a secret research and development facility where it aims to build its own battery cells, according to a report from CNBC.
The electric vehicle maker currently relies on Panasonic to produce cells, but Tesla likely hopes to lower the development cost and increase the performance of the battery packs used in its cars, since they are among the most important and most costly components.
CNBC said it conducted interviews with five current and recent employees to confirm the story. Tesla and Panasonic did not comment.
Chief Executive Elon Musk has said that battery production is currently a pain for the company and has slowed rollout of both vehicles and Tesla Energy products like Powerwall.
Tesla battery cell research is being conducted in a lab at the company’s Kato Road facility near its car plant in Fremont, California, the report said.
“Employees in Tesla’s battery R&D teams are now focused on designing and prototyping advanced lithium ion battery cells, as well as new equipment and processes that could allow Tesla to produce cells in high volumes,” CNBC reported.