Image: Wall Street Journal
Panasonic ramps up efforts to manufacture 4680 batteries with Tesla's assistance. The company already has production technology and is preparing for the mass production of new battery cells.
Panasonic is technologically almost ready to begin commercializing the cheaper, higher-capacity battery cells that Tesla introduced last year, battery division of the company CEO Kazuo Tadanobu said in an interview with Nikkei Asia. He also shared a number of details about the development, and what the company is currently doing to get production started.
Tadanobu said the technology targets for 4680 battery cells have been largely met. The new batteries have about five times the capacity of 2170 currently in use. He said that mass production requires new technologies. Panasonic is currently building a prototype production line in Japan, which will be phased in. The company will test for mass production and hone the process in Japan before it can be quickly deployed.
Tadanobu said that Panasonic is working on a new battery at Tesla's request and that they expect to continue doing business with the company. He said that negotiations for the new battery cells started with Tesla even before the 2020 Battery Day event. During the discussions, it was decided that the 4680 would be the optimal battery size after considering costs, the balance of the vehicles themselves, and other possibilities posed by cylindrical batteries. Its CEO said that Panasonic's cylindrical batteries, for customers like Tesla, "make it easy to balance safety and high capacity."
When asked whether Panasonic will cooperate with other electric vehicle manufacturers, the head of the company replied that Tesla is the closest partner. In general, the company does not exclude cooperation with other manufacturers who share their values, if this is possible without significantly expanding its own resources.
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