Panasonic said on Wednesday it had shipped samples of Tesla’s 4680 cell to the automaker ahead of mass production. Panasonic detailed its plans for the production schedule on the first day of the company’s annual investor event.
“A pilot line, created first in Japan, started full-scale prototype production in May,” said Kazuo Tadanobu, CEO of Panasonic’s energy business at the event.
Panasonic, Tesla battery partner, shares insights into 4680 cell development
Pansonic expects mass production of the 4680 cell to begin in March 2023, when the company’s fiscal year begins. Panasonic’s Wakayama plant will initially handle cell production. It will then be moved to North America.
Tadanobu has not in the past committed to producing the 4680 cells in the United States, but now that he says the company will shift production to North America, it may bring another factory to the United States.
Reuterswhich initially reported Panasonic shipped 4,680 samples to Tesla, said the company was considering sites in Kansas and Oklahoma, people familiar with the matter said.
Panasonic only has Tesla as a customer for the new cells.
Tesla’s 4680 battery cell is the automaker’s newest breakthrough in EV technology, offering significantly more power, energy density and range than previous battery designs. It was unveiled in late 2020 by CEO Elon Musk and other executives at the company’s Battery Day event. Tesla produced the cells at a facility near the Fremont factory in Northern California, but only in limited quantities. Tesla had produced its 1 millionth 4680 cell in January. However, industry researcher Benchmark Mineral Intelligence estimated that one million 4680 cells is enough for about 1,200 Tesla Model Ys.
Tesla has installed the 4680 batteries in select Model Ys manufactured at the company’s new plant in Austin, Texas.
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