Panasonic plans to start mass production of Tesla’s 4680 battery cells in the April 2023 fiscal year, according to reports. There are also plans to set up two additional production lines and facilities at the company’s Wakayama plant. There is also a rumor that Panasonic is planning a major gigafactory somewhere in the United States. In addition, Panasonic is also setting up a prototype production line in Japan for batteries.
Bloomberg reports that Panasonic is set to become a major maker of Tesla’s new, more powerful battery; citing a recent interview with Panasonic CEO Kazuo Tadanobu at Panasonic headquarters in Osaka.
Tadanobu talked about the challenges involved in developing the 4680 battery cells. He said that over the past few months they have “taken on a tremendous amount of stamina.”
He added that while it’s common to try to find different ways to add more energy into already existing cell sizes, changing the typical battery shape “took a lot of courage”. He wasn’t sure how the stacks would be received. Tesla, according to the report, acknowledged that the new batteries meet the level of performance sought.
Tadanobu spoke about the new factory, noting that nothing has been decided yet. He said the locations of possible new factories will be evaluated based on the economy of those areas as well as partnerships. For now, he said, Panasonic is focused on building a “solid foundation” for future 4680 production at the Wakayama plant.
Tadanobu spoke of Panasonic’s firm belief that battery cells will change the world of transportation. They will have a “tremendous impact” when it comes to reducing the cost of electric vehicles and their widespread adoption. This will help reduce carbon emissions worldwide. He added that “the electrification of vehicles is the most impactful revolution taking place in our society”.
A critical factor is security. Tadanobu pointed out that the company’s focus on safety is helping it maintain its edge as it moves forward, even as Tesla produces its own 4680 cells. There are also rumors that other rivals are planning to produce their own 4680 cells.
According to PanDaily, major Chinese battery companies such as CATL, BAK Battery and EVE are planning to mass-produce the 4680 battery cells. The latter two are building the production infrastructure for nickel-cobalt-manganese batteries with a diameter of 46 millimeters and a length of 80 millimeters.
Panasonic’s advantage, Tanobu said, lies in its ability to “use know-how to maintain safety while increasing a battery’s performance.”
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