Panasonic announces battery production blitz to keep pace with Tesla

Tesla Model X on display at Panasonic's booth at CES [Source: Business Wire]

Panasonic, a critical Tesla battery cell supplier, has announced a massive production expansion within North America to keep up with growing EV demand.

As noted by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, battery cell production is the limiting factor determining EV production globally. The rapidly growing demand for batteries has attracted billions in corporate investment and government incentives, not the least from Panasonic, which has been a leader in Japanese battery production for years. Now, Panasonic has announced a massive battery cell production expansion in North America to help address the demand from its top customer, Tesla.

According to Panasonic’s expansion plan, the company will construct at least two new battery cell production facilities in North America. Specifics regarding estimated investment and location have not yet been made available. These new facilities will be critical to achieving Panasonic’s production capacity goal of 200 GWh by March of 2031. This production capacity goal is just over four times the current production capabilities of the Japanese technology giant.

Regarding facility location, likely enticed by the generous incentives from the United States government, Panasonic CEO Yuki Kusumi pointed to Nevada or Kansas. However, “[the production facilities] could be somewhere else.”

Besides the massive battery cell expansion, Panasonic is also engaging in the all-out sprint toward improved battery energy density. The company plans a sizable investment in R&D over the coming two years, resulting in two new facilities being constructed in its home country of Japan. The first R&D lab will be built in Osaka in 2024 and the second in neighboring Kadoma in 2025.

As mentioned above, this production expansion is equally vital to Panasonic’s top automotive customer, Tesla, which is looking to dramatically increase its own production of EVs over the same timeframe. By 2030, Tesla aims to have an annual production capacity of 20 million EVs globally, and having a stable and dependable supply from Panasonic will be critical to achieving that goal.

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Panasonic announces battery production blitz to keep pace with Tesla
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