Panasonic's new President and Chief Executive Officer Yuki Kusumi intends to accelerate the increase in battery production for Tesla. He stated that the company will make a “large investment” in the production of 4680 battery cells for Tesla and other EV manufacturers.
On June 24, Kusumi took over as head of the major Japanese engineering corporation and will focus on improving efficiency from the manufacturing floor. For now, building good relationships with EV makers like Tesla and being able to claim a share of the global EV battery market is critical for the company.
In the next two years, the plan is to “specialize and sharpen” the remaining Panasonic businesses, according to Bloomberg. Kusumi acknowledged that many of the problems Panasonic has faced in supplying batteries to Tesla in the past have been due to insufficient production performance. In 2014, the electric vehicle manufacturer and Panasonic invested in the construction of a factory in Nevada, where batteries for Tesla are still being produced. However, over the years, Panasonic has been unable to meet the growing demand of the EV manufacturer for critical components.
The new CEO of the Japanese company said that going forward Panasonic will focus on maximizing the pace of plant operation while automating processes and keeping production costs low. “Within our new structure we’re going to polish this ability and if you stay tuned we’ll invest again in building supply capacity,” Kusumi said.
Panasonic is currently working on a prototype production line to test 4680 batteries, the next-generation lithium-ion cells that Tesla unveiled in September 2020. The new form factor and chemistry should be the key to opening up cheaper and more ubiquitous electric vehicles. Kusumi said that if Panasonic strives to produce more efficient elements more efficiently than its competitors, it will make a "large investment" in its production. After that, the company will seek to supply them to Tesla as well as other EV makers.
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