Tesla reportedly has applied for regulatory clearance to expand its Shanghai plant and to begin producing pouch type battery cells for the first time, albeit in small numbers.
An undated public notice cited by Reuters said the potential expansion would give the Shanghai Gigafactory the capacity to produce 1.75m powertrain units a year, up from the current 1.25m.
The news agency said it was not clear from the notice, posted on the website of the district where the factory is located, whether Tesla was committed to moving ahead with the expansion or is only seeking approval for potential, future capacity.
Tesla did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.
The automaker was also looking for clearance to produce pouch type battery cells, the notice said, adding that a trial production line would have initial annual capacity to make 20,000 amp hours of cells, equivalent to the power in a single Model Y battery pack.
It was not clear how Tesla would use the pouch cells, which it had not previously used in its electric vehicles.
Reuters noted pouch cells, widely used in consumer electronics, differ from the cells Tesla has used for EVs in that the battery components are housed in a more flexible metal bag rather than a rigid cylinder. They are used by some automakers including General Motors.
Tesla was also looking to set up new facilities to recycle chemicals for waste-water treatment in the plant.
The notice, part of a standard procedure for environmental clearance in China, reportedly said Tesla was seeking public comment on the environmental impact of the potential expansion through Wednesday.