Photo courtesy of Tesla, Inc.
Panasonic is stepping up its efforts at Tesla Gigafactory Nevada through a significant expansion of its operations, including investments in new infrastructure to produce higher capacity batteries at a lower cost and adding new employees. The company is launching a new battery production line at the factory in August to meet Tesla's rapidly growing demand. The start of prototype production of the new 4680 cells is scheduled for 2021 in Japan.
According to the Fiscal 2022 First Quarter Financial Results report, Panasonic is preparing to commission a new production line at Tesla Giga Nevada in August. The new line will be the fourteenth line at the factory and should increase its throughput by about 10%. The company made the announcement about expanding at the end of August 2020. Panasonic expected the new production line for car batteries to begin operations in August 2021 and progress is on track to the previously set plan.
Along with the expansion of the production line, Panasonic began converting the old cobalt battery technology into a new one. The new cells will be cheaper to manufacture, have more power, and have less cobalt. In September 2020, Panasonic talked about a 5% increase in the energy density of its cells for Tesla, and in the longer term, this figure should be increased by 20%.
In the financial report, Panasonic also mentioned the success in prototyping the new 4680 battery cells, which are a key part of Tesla's plan. The manufacturer indicated that it will install equipment for the prototype production of 4680 battery cells in fiscal 2022 at its facility in Japan. What is remarkable is that in early June, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that he was going to visit Japan later this year. Although he did not disclose the purpose of the visit, it is likely that it may be related to a visit to Tesla's longtime partner—Panasonic.
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