Tesla and Panasonic have put an end to their solar cell production partnership. However, the end of the companies' joint venture in solar cell production does not mean Tesla and Panasonic's business relationship is over.
According to the Nikkei Asian Review, Tesla and Panasonic's joint partnership in solar cell production has been strained by the struggle to ramp output for Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, New York. The two companies announced their partnership in solar cell production in 2016, and Panasonic shouldered costs for some of the equipment in Giga Buffalo.
By 2017, production for car parts of Tesla's solar panels began in Giga Buffalo. Initially, Panasonic-made cells are supposed to be used for Tesla's Solar Roof. However, the Japanese battery maker was unable to create cells that met the standards of Tesla's Solar Roof design, which was supposed to look like regular tile roofs while maintaining cost and energy efficiency.
Tesla April company talk will be from our Giga New York factory, where we make SolarGlass & several other products. Will also offer customer & media tours.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 10, 2020
Tesla Solar Roof V3, which was launched in September 2019, uses Chinese cells. The company has been ramping Solar Roof V3 installations in the United States hard these first two months in 2020. Elon Musk has also hinted that the international expansion for Solarglass Roof could start later this year.
Gigafactory New York currently makes the Tesla Solarglass Roof. Panasonic contributed to the costs, particularly in equipment, for Giga NY. The Japan-based company also utilizes the Gigafactory in Buffalo New York. The cells Panasonic makes in Giga NY are being sold to Japanese homebuilders and other clients.
Tesla used local subsidies to build Gigafactory New York, so there is a need to keep working at the Buffalo-based facility for now. However, as it stands, Panasonic and Tesla's production lines seem to function separately within Giga NY's walls, so there is no need to continue their relationship in solar cell production.
However, Tesla and Panasonic will continue working together for the American-based company's EV vehicles for at least the ones made Fremont. As for Tesla's electric car production in China, Giga Shanghai's MIC Model 3 will use batteries from China-based suppliers CATL and LG Chem.
In April, Tesla will be holding a company talk at Giga New York. According to Elon Musk, Tesla could talk about the Solarglass roof ramp and the other products the company makes in its Buffalo factory.
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