Longtime Tesla battery supplier Panasonic has announced a delay in the commercial production of its 4680 cells.
Panasonic previously suggested that mass production of its 4680 cells could be achieved between April 2023 and March 2024. As per the company’s recent statements, Panasonic is now planning to start commercial production of the next-generation cells during the April to September period in 2024.
Panasonic did not share the specifics behind its decision to shift the date for its 4680 cells’ commercial production. In its earnings presentation materials, however, Panasonic hinted that the adjustment could allow the company to improve the battery’s performance, as noted in a Reuters report.
“Mass production rescheduled to begin during 1H FY3/25 to introduce performance improvement measures that will further enhance competitiveness,” Panasonic noted.
Tesla is already manufacturing 4680 cells, with the batteries reportedly being equipped in the base Model Y AWD that’s produced in Giga Texas. The next-generation cells are expected to pave the way for the creation of more affordable electric cars, though Tesla has so far faced challenges in ramping the production of the next-generation batteries.
While Tesla appears to be betting a lot of its future volume production on its 4680 program, the EV maker’s suppliers have also been working on a similar battery form factor. Panasonic alone is already running a pilot 4680 production line, though the facility is located at the company’s Wakayama factory in Japan.
Tesla’s South Korean battery supplier LG Energy Solution is also developing its own 4680 cells. Reports from March of this year suggested that LG is poised to achieve mass production of the next-generation batteries, potentially placing it ahead of Panasonic. Interestingly enough, LG has mentioned in the past that it intends to be Tesla’s primary battery supplier in the future.
By the end of 2022, Tesla’s factories in California and Texas were producing enough 4680 battery cells for over 1,000 cars per week. That’s a notable milestone for the 4680 program, but it is still a long way away from the company’s targets. Tesla, after all, is aiming to achieve a rate of 20 million vehicles per year by the end of the decade.
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