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Tesla supplier Panasonic to boost productivity before adding an EV plant

Credit: Redwood Materials

After an executive from Tesla supplier Panasonic hinted at the potential for a third U.S. battery factory this month, another executive has cautioned that the manufacturer should first boost output at its current plants before debuting an additional site.

At CES earlier this month, Panasonic North America President Allan Swan highlighted the company’s potential for an additional future battery plant, in hopes to substantially boost annual production capacity between now and 2031.

In an interview last Friday, however, Panasonic CEO Yuki Kusumi said that the company would only open another U.S. plant “when the timing is right,” warning that the electric vehicle (EV) battery maker needed to boost productivity at its current locations before it adds another factory.

“I keep telling people we need to think about thoroughly raising productivity before setting up a third location,” Kusumi said.

He also added that the human resources requirement of adding additional plants meant it is, in general, preferable to have fewer production locations, rather than more. Kusumi also noted that there was still significant room to increase production at its current factories, simply through improving machine maintenance and overall processes.

Kusumi also says he hopes that Panasonic will be able to generate profits without having to rely on credits from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

Currently, Panasonic has a U.S. location at Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada, and the manufacturer is building a second site in Kansas. Amidst talk of adding a third plant last month, Panasonic struck Oklahoma off of its list as a potential option for the next U.S. factory.

In addition, the company is looking to increase its annual EV battery production capacity to 200 GWh by early 2031, with the upcoming Kansas plant expected to bring annual capacity up to around 80 GWh.

The news comes after Panasonic announced plans to rollout upgraded versions of its 2170 and 4680 battery cells, which could become available as soon as this year.

Tesla supplier Panasonic slashing domestic EV battery production

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Tesla supplier Panasonic to boost productivity before adding an EV plant
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