Tesla's quiet acquisition of a Canadian battery manufacturer may be the first significant indicator yet that the Silicon Valley EV builder plans to develop its own future battery tech.
Some time over the summer, Tesla discretely purchased Ontario-based Hibar Systems Ltd., Electric Autonomy Canada reported on Friday. The acquisition only came to light because of regulatory filings in which Tesla had to report any Canadian subsidiaries. None were indicated in Q2 filings, but Hibar mysteriously appeared in the Q3 documentation. At some point in September, Hibar's web site was decommissioned.
Hibar has been around since the 1970s and has been on an upward trajectory as EV grown has exploded. It has manufacturing arms worldwide and provides automation support to multiple battery producers. It it heavily invested in China, where Tesla broke ground on Gigafactory 3 earlier this year.
Some are also drawing lines from the purchase to Canadian lithium-ion battery researcher Jeff Dahm, who was involved in Tesla's recently detailed "million-mile battery" skunkworks project, the product of which is a cell capable of lasting three times as many cycles as Tesla's current tech.
Tesla partners with Panasonic to produce the battery packs utilized by its current lineup, but multiple reports over the summer alluded to the existence of a team working to come up with an in-house future-proofing solution. The necessity of such a plan has come into focus over the course of 2019 as Tesla claims its production rate is straining the capacity of its current partner.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said earlier this year that it had a strategy for lowering battery production costs. He provided no details, but it seems likely that the acquisition of Hibar is no coincidence.
Green Car Reports has reached out to Tesla for an official statement about the acquisition's significance. We'll update this story if and when we hear back.