Panasonic will start producing prototypes of Tesla’s 4680 battery cells as early as 2021, according to a recent report from Japanese media. The tech conglomerate is planning to expand its capacity in Giga Nevada by 10% next year and is reportedly exploring a big battery venture in Norway at the same time.
According to Nikkei Asia, Panasonic will build a prototype production line for the Tesla 4680 battery cells “at existing facilities.” The wording of the report suggests that the Asia-based battery supplier may be building multiple prototype production lines. The project is estimated to cost tens of millions of dollars.
In an October briefing, Panasonic’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Hirokazu Umeda stated that the company started preparing to produce Tesla’s 4680 battery cell as soon as the EV manufacturer unveiled it during Battery Day.
“We have considerable know-how for that battery,” Umeda said. “We started working on it immediately after Tesla’s Battery Days and are also preparing to set up a prototype production line in parallel.
Tesla’s 4680 cells could herald price parity between the electric vehicles and its internal combustion ancestor. The EV automaker’s 4680 cells are expected to have 5X the energy density and 6X more power than Tesla’s existing batteries. Tesla’s new cells are also predicted to cost 56% less to produce per kWh.
To illustrate the 4680’s efficiency, Tesla teardown expert Sandy Munro estimated that the Model Y will use only 960 of the new cells in its structural battery pack.
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