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Another Tesla facility will go up in Austin, filings show

Project Cathode will be near the Gigafactory, filings show. (Tesla)

Tesla has submitted filings for "Project Cathode," which will reportedly be a facility for making the material in batteries that help power electric vehicles.

The filings say the “industrial use facility” will be close by to the automaker's southeast Travis County factory and company headquarters. Building its own batteries could mean a significant reduction in production costs for the automaker.

A cathode facility has been in the works for years now, and it's arriving at a time when the Austin factory is key to Tesla’s future. And the newest Gigafactory has ample space to carry out the 32-acre project, with its land near the Colorado River spanning more than 2,000 acres.

CEO Elon Musk has previously talked about expecting significant shortages of battery cells. He said even with cell suppliers like Panasonic, LG and CATL, “we still foresee significant shortages in 2022 & beyond unless we also take action ourselves.”

Early hints came during Tesla’s battery day presentation in 2020, when VP of engineering Drew Baglino talked about the facility, saying the automaker would start “leveraging all of the North American resources that exist for nickel and lithium.”

Baglino went on to talk about what that could mean for carrying out production efficiently.

“Just doing that, just localizing our cathode supply chain and production, we can reduce miles traveled by all the materials that end up in the cathode by 80%,” Baglino said.

Through deals with Piedmont Lithium and Talon Metals, Tesla has aimed for lithium and nickel from North American sources. Securing materials for batteries has become an increasingly competitive space as EV sales have surged in recent years.

Battery manufacturing equipment has already been deployed at Giga Texas with some already in operation, Tesla has said. The confirmation came in an update on its new 4680 battery cell. Another major update came on Battery Day, when a new cathode chemistry that streamlines production and makes it more affordable was unveiled.


With deposition and trial looming, Elon Musk has offered $44B for Twitter, again

Elon Musk has proposed once again to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share.

The news that Musk is offering to carry on with the $44 billion buyout was first reported by Bloomberg. Now, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows Musk made the proposal in a letter to the tech giant on Monday.

The New York Stock Exchange temporarily halted trading in Twitter stock twice Tuesday, first because of a big price move and the second time for a news event, presumably the announcement of Musk's renewed offer.

While the per share offer price on this latest proposal remains the same as the original offer, it’s unclear if Musk has made other term changes or if Twitter would reject it. According to other reports, a deal could be reached this week.

The stock closed at $52.00/share Tuesday, indicating market uncertainty around the $54.20 offer.

After Musk informed Twitter of plans to terminate the original agreement in July, Twitter sued. A trial has been expected in Delaware Chancery Court on Oct. 17.

With the proposition of a buyout on the table again, it revives the question of whether Musk might move Twitter from San Francisco to Central Texas.

He’s done so with some of his other companies. Tesla’s headquarters in southeast Travis County had its grand opening earlier this year and tunneling business The Boring Company moved to Pflugerville. At least two other Musk companies, SpaceX and Neuralink, have a Central Texas presence without being headquartered here.

Technology journalist Nilay Patel this afternoon voiced concerns that owning Twitter and Tesla together could be problematic for Musk, as his Tesla manufacturing facilities in Germany and China are both in countries that have disputes with Twitter over content moderation and censorship.

Telsa shares fell after the Twitter news became public, before rallying to close up, at $249.44.

Austin rents nearly double in a year and are now in the top 5 nationwide

While searching for a place to live, Austin renters will face monthly rates of nearly $3,000, a recent guide from rental marketplace Dwellsy shows.

The median rent in August this year was $2,930, a more than 86% increase since August 2021. That’s $820 more than the nationwide median asking rent in August and puts Austin just below the Bay Area, Boston and New York for large cities with the most expensive asking rent.

“Within this group, Austin, TX stands out for the highest increases in asking rent, which has nearly doubled since this time last year,” the study notes.

Outside of those large cities, however, others are seeing even higher rent spikes. Metro areas that ranked above Austin in one-year increases include those like Kansas City, MO with a 112% change in rent since last August and Tucson, AZ with a 124% change.

The data reflects large apartment communities, single-family homes and 2-6 unit buildings.