Longtime Tesla battery partner Panasonic is reportedly weighing the idea of building a new battery plant in the United States. The new facility would be built to supply Texas-based electric vehicle maker Tesla.
Panasonic is one of Tesla’s most tenured suppliers, and it has shown every intention that it’s more than willing to supply the electric vehicle maker with 4680 cells, which are expected to be utilized for upcoming vehicles like the Tesla Semi and the Cybertruck. Panasonic announced back in February that its energy division would be building a 4680 battery cell production facility at its Wakayama Factory in western Japan.
As per a recent report from Nikkei Asia, Panasonic’s decision to build a new plant in the United States would depend on the profitability of new lithium-ion batteries that would be made at the Wakayama plant. The Japanese business publication did not provide details about the new lithium-ion batteries in question, though previous reports suggest that they would be 4680 cells.
News of a new Panasonic plant in the United States has been released in the past months. Back in March, the Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai (NHK), or the Japan Broadcasting Corporation, published a report stating that Panasonic had decided to acquire a factory site in the United States for the production of lithium-ion batteries. The company is reportedly looking at either Oklahoma or Kansas as potential sites for its new plant.
Being a longtime partner of Tesla, Panasonic is used to the electric vehicle maker’s high demands. But according to Kazuo Tadanobu, the CEO of Panasonic’s energy division, the 4680 battery cell project has been particularly challenging. According to the executive, the development of the new batteries has “taken an immense amount of stamina” and that the new form factor took “considerable nerve.”
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