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Panasonic 4680 Tesla Batteries
Panasonic 4680 Tesla batteries, compared to older style cells. Image courtesy of Panasonic.


Panasonic Now Mass Producing Tesla 4680 Batteries

Panasonic shipped samples of its 4680 batteries to Tesla ahead of the production surge, Reuters recently reported. Mass production of the new battery is expected to begin at the plant in Wakayama in March of next year when the company’s fiscal new year begins and before production is moved to North America.

Kazuo Tadanobu, CEO of Panasonic Energy, shared remarks on the first day of Panasonic’s annual investor event. He said, “A pilot line, created first in Japan, made it possible to start large-scale prototype production in May.”

The remarks hint at plans for a new plant in the U.S. that will help Tesla as it continues its EV dominance. Reuters, citing anonymous sources, noted that Panasonic has its eye on Kansas and Oklahoma as potential factory sites that would supply Tesla’s new Gigafactory in Texas.

This wasn’t the only presentation to investors by Panasonic. Executives from the company’s automotive business predicted that the semiconductor shortage would continue to persist. CEO of Panasonic Automotive Masashi Nagayasu said, “We will be running our business as we consider risks of fluctuations on vehicle production.”

Panasonic gets around 15% of its total revenue from the automotive unit, and the company expects sales to climb 19% through March 2023. Tesla is already using the 4680 cylindrical cells in the new made-in-Texas Model Y vehicles produced at Giga Texas.. It’s only a matter of time before all new EVs produced by Tesla will have the new cells. Earlier this year, Tesla, which also produces its own 4680 cells, announced that it passed 1 million 4680 cells.

Also earlier this year, Panasonic announced a $700 million investment to expand the Wakayama battery factory and plans to bring in new equipment to manufacture the new 4680 cells. Considering that March 2022 is just a couple of months behind us, it does seem as if March 2023 is pretty far off. However, time has been flying and it’s already June.

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