In a recent press release, Tesla’s battery partner Panasonic said its energy division would establish a 4,680-cell production plant at its plant in Wakayama, western Japan. Mass production of the new battery cells at the site is expected to begin in the fiscal year ending March 2024.
The initiative aims to help Panasonic expand its electric vehicle battery business worldwide. And while the company’s mass production schedule seems conservative, Panasonic explained that it is currently developing 4680 battery cells at multiple sites in Japan. Mass production plans for the 4680 batteries are being developed today in preparation for full cell deployment in the future.
A number of updates are expected to be carried out at the Panasonic factory in Wakayama. Along with structural improvements to the site, two additional battery production lines and utility facilities are expected to be put in place. Productivity verification and mass production of the 4680 battery cells themselves will follow.
“To contribute to the rapid adoption of electric vehicles, Panasonic has worked to improve its range of automotive lithium-ion batteries. Currently, Panasonic is developing a new high-capacity lithium-ion battery, “4680”, in several locations in Japan. The company will gradually expand its production capabilities in preparation for full deployment. Along with the structural improvements, two additional production lines as well as utility facilities will be established at the Wakayama plant, and productivity verification and mass production are expected to begin in the fiscal year ending March 2024,” wrote Panasonic in its press release.
While Panasonic hasn’t revealed its customer for its 4680 cells, it wouldn’t be surprising if its longtime partner Tesla becomes one of the biggest buyers of the Japanese company’s upcoming batteries. The working relationship between Tesla and Panasonic has been established over the years, after all, as evidenced by the two companies’ operations at Gigafactory Nevada.
Panasonic continues to work hard to push the boundaries of its battery efforts. In January, the Japanese company revealed that it would use recycled battery components from Redwood Materials to produce batteries at Tesla’s Gigafactory Nevada plant by the end of 2022. The announcement is significant and highlights the idea that electric vehicle batteries are only getting cleaner and more durable over time.
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