Photographer: Yuki Furukawa/Bloomberg
Panasonic is looking for a new US site to build a factory for the production of 4680 Tesla battery cells that will supply batteries to the EV manufacturer.
Panasonic Corp. is negotiating a new US plant to supply Tesla and possibly other electric vehicle makers next-generation lithium-ion batteries, sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. According to them, the Japanese company is considering several sites for a multibillion-dollar plant, including one in Oklahoma and another in Kansas. The new plant could start operating as early as 2024, they say.
While the process is still in its early stages, the plans are a bold move for Panasonic, which has promised to lead the industry again in the future. Recently, Panasonic has been slower to scale-up compared to competing suppliers LG Energy Solution and Contemporary Amperex Technology Co.
The source said Panasonic plans to produce the newly developed, larger, and more powerful "4680" battery at the new US plant. The company may also install lines for the production of other types of batteries at the new facility, although this will directly depend on consumer demand. Panasonic said it plans to begin mass production of 4680 batteries in Japan in the fiscal year starting April 2023, but no further announcements have been made about the plan.
Earlier in March, Japanese national broadcaster NHK reported that Panasonic was looking for construction sites in Oklahoma and Kansas. These locations are relatively close to the new plant that Tesla is launching in Texas. Giga Texas will produce Model Y with a structural battery pack and 4680 battery cells. According to one source, the timing and budget for Panasonic's US plant may change in the future, depending on the company's progress in producing new battery cells in Japan.
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