Panasonic, the Japanese electronics giant, has supported Tesla since its early days in 2007. By 2010, Panasonic invested $30 million for a multi-year collaboration with Tesla developing lithium-ion battery cells for its electric vehicles. More recently, Panasonic announced Gigafactory partnerships with Tesla (in both Nevada and New York) to help produce batteries and solar products.
Above: Tesla’s Model X is prominently showcased at Panasonic’s booth for this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (Source: Panasonic)
Panasonic doesn’t often comment on its alliance with Tesla. That said, the company revealed a bit more about their collaboration with Tesla at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (via InsideEVs). And since the companies work together so closely, it’s conceivable that some of Panasonic’s prototype car tech could also foreshadow what’s coming inside of Tesla’s future vehicles. In any event, let’s take a look at what Panasonic revealed at CES this year…
Panasonic’s 2170 lithium-ion battery cells for Tesla
It’s reported that “Panasonic’s lithium-ion battery factory within Tesla’s Gigafactory handles production of 2170-size*1 cylindrical battery cells for Tesla’s energy storage system and its new Model 3 sedan, which began production in July 2017. The high performance cylindrical ‘2170 cell’ was jointly designed and engineered by Tesla and Panasonic to offer the best performance at the lowest production cost in an optimal form factor for both electric vehicles (EVs) and energy products.“
Above: A look at Pansonic’s 2170 lithium-ion batteries (Youtube: Panasonic Newsroom)
Panasonic’s solar products for Tesla
In addition to batteries, “Panasonic also collaborates with the company [Tesla] in the solar cell business and will begin production of solar cells this summer at its Buffalo, New York, factory. Solar cells produced at this factory are supplied to Tesla. In addition, the solar cells are used in roof tiles sold by Tesla, a product that integrates solar cells with roofing materials. Panasonic will continue its investment in the factory going forward and plans to raise solar cell production capacity to 1 GW by 2019.”
Above: More insight into Pansonic’s solar panels and solar roof tiles being produced at Tesla Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, NY (Youtube: Panasonic Newsroom)
Autonomous Living Space Cabin
Upon reaching Level 5 self-driving capabilities, Panasonic explains tha “The future of mobility lies in fully-autonomous ‘Living Space’ vehicles, where the very act of driving recedes into the background. Travel time [instead] becomes live-your-life time. The car will be transformed into adaptive spaces that meet our needs: a mobile living room, a relaxation zone, and entertainment center—even an office on wheels.” Could Tesla’s car interiors look something like this in the future?
Above: How driverless cars could look in the future (Youtube: Panasonic Newsroom)
Scalable e-Powertrain Platforms for EV Bikes and Micro EVs
What if Tesla launches e-bikes and/or smaller electric cars? It’s reported that “The platform Panasonic has developed for EV bikes and micro EVs is an energy-efficient, safe powertrain that features integrated compactness, high efficiency, and flexible scalability. It consists of basic units, including a power unit (with an onboard charger, junction box, inverter and DC-to-DC converter) and a motor unit. The platform will help reduce costs and lead time for vehicle development.”
Above: Panasonic’s scalable “ePowertrain” platform for e-bikes and smaller EVs (Youtube: Panasonic Newsroom)
Moving forward, Panasonic forecasts a strong partnership with Tesla cementing its place in the electric vehicle movement. The company notes, “Panasonic and Tesla are conducting phased investment in the Gigafactory… [and] Panasonic is estimating that global production volume for electric vehicles in fiscal 2026 will see an approximately six-fold increase from fiscal 2017 to over 3 million units. The company will contribute to the realization of a sustainable energy society through the provision of electric vehicle batteries.”
Note: Article originally published on evannex.com, by Matt Pressman
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