Thanks to @TeslaMS60 for sharing an interesting story regarding Tesla Motors’ coming gigafactory. Panasonic Corp, according to Reuters, expects that it will be Tesla’s sole battery manufacturer at the multibillion-dollar gigafactory Tesla is building in the US Southwest. Panasonic has long been Tesla’s key battery partner, but it was questionable whether Panasonic would continue to have this exclusive relationship and how much it would be involved in the gigafactory (or gigafactories). Looks like Panasonic expects it will continue to be a big beneficiary in Tesla’s growth.
Nonetheless, don’t expect in big moves on the part of Panasonic this year. “Panasonic does not have a timeframe for a decision on its investment but any expenditure this year would be small, Yoshio Ito, senior managing executive officer and president of the Japanese firm’s automotive and industrial division said on Friday.”
“As we’re not anticipating any sudden tenfold increases in demand or anything like that, we think it is right to break it up step-by-step and invest gradually,” Ito told reporters. However, Panasonic is planning to spend approximately 28 billion yen ($275 million) on battery production this year, about twice what was in its budget last year, primarily because of growing demand from Tesla, which has been increasing its manufacturing capacity.
Tesla and Panasonic are reportedly in talks about the construction plans (naturally), and Panasonic isn’t concerned about any competing battery makers getting a foot in.
Panasonic signed a $7 billion deal with Tesla late last year that would see Tesla buy “2 billion individual laptop batteries from Panasonic” (Tesla uses about 7,000 of those in a battery pack). That just followed rumors that Tesla might start getting some of its batteries from Samsung. Apparently, the Samsung rumors didn’t have anything behind them or the talks fell through.
Panasonic surged to 39% of the plug-in vehicle battery market. Nonetheless, Panasonic has been unsure about investing in a high-risk gigafactory, according to reports. The Tesla gigafactory has been the talk of the town this year because of its large size and potential for helping to disrupt multiple large markets, but Elon Musk recently noted that we would actually need about 200 gigafactories for plug-in car batteries alone. Hard to comprehend, but also hard to comprehend that EV revolution not happening.
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