Panasonic Expanding Footing at Tesla Gigafactory for Improved Battery Capacity
【Summary】Tesla and longtime partner Panasonic are taking another step, as reports indicate that the battery manufacturer is looking to add an additional production line to the automaker’s facility in Nevada.
Japan's Panasonic and Tesla are long time partners. The two companies first inked a deal back in 2014 and have been working together on electric vehicle batteries ever since. Despite some rumors claiming that Tesla was looking to dump Panasonic to make its own EV batteries in-house, a new report from the Reno Gazette Journal states that the two are looking to deepen their partnership.
Panasonic Increasing Foothold
The outlet claims that Panasonic is looking to expand its operations at Tesla's Gigafactory 1 in Nevada. The battery maker is also making an investment into new infrastructure to make higher-capacity batteries that are more affordable.
"There's some construction work that needs to take place over the next couple of months," said Carl Walton, vice president of production engineering and facilities for Panasonic Energy of North America. "Then early next year, we'll be installing new equipment with production starting shortly after that."
A new line, which would become the 14th at the Gigafactory, is expected to boost the facility's battery capacity. Before the expansion, the outlet claims the facility is at 35 gigawatt-hours per year. All Panasonic will say about the expansion is that output will increase by roughly 10 percent. In addition to new construction, Panasonic plans to hire more workers. Currently, there are 7,000 workers at the Gigafactory, but the expansions could add an additional 100 extra positions.
Construction, according to TechCrunch, has already started. In addition to coming out with a new line, Panasonic will also install new technology for the "2170" lithium-ion battery cell that it supplies to Tesla. The new tech that Panasonic's working on is expected to improve energy density by 20 percent over the next five years.
Why The Expansions Is Surprising
The outlet points out that the expansion comes at a time when the industry wasn't too sure if Tesla and Panasonic would continue working with one another. Roughly a year ago, the Nikkei Asian Review stated that Tesla and Panasonic were looking to stop expansion plans because of a potential risk. The outlet claims that Panasonic's CEO expressed some concern over Musk's unpredictable behavior.
Last year, Musk put out a critical tweet of Panasonic's reservations in boosting investments at the facility. Tesla's CEO blamed Panasonic for bottlenecking its Model 3 production by failing to adequately ramp up battery capacity for its EVs.
While the issues came up just last year, it looks like Panasonic and Tesla are on better terms now. "The EV market throughout the world continues to explode and the demand is there," Walton said. "This is our way of helping our partner (Tesla) to continue supplying electric vehicles to the market."
While extra battery capacity will surely be a good thing for Tesla, we're sure the electric automaker is more interested in the other aspects of the expansion, mainly the reduction in pricing and the new tech. Pricing has always been an issue with Teslas, while extra range would put the automaker further ahead of the competition.
Vineeth Joel Patel
Joel Patel has been covering all aspects of the automotive industry for four years as an editor and freelance writer for various websites. When it comes to cars, he enjoys covering the merger between technology and cars. In his spare time, Joel likes to watch baseball, work on his car, and try new foods
UK Moving up Its Goal to Ban New Gas-Powered Car Sales to 2030
EV Startup Rivian Interested in Building Smaller EVs to Sell in China, Europe
Drivers Are Too Trusting of Partially Autonomous Vehicles Claims IIHS Report
Rivian R1S, R1T Electric Vehicles Coming June 2021 With a $75,000 Price Tag
Hyundai Plans to Offer 10 Electrified Vehicles by 2022
2022 Ford E-Transit Arrives With 126 Miles of Range
Volvo to Manufacture its Electric Motors In-House in Sweden, China
Don’t Hold Your Breath for a Six-Figure EV From Ford
- Coreshell Technologies, a California Startup Working to Solve EV Battery Degradation Raises $4 Million
- BMW to Double its EV Battery Production in China, Opens a New High-Voltage Battery Center
- Alphabet’s Autonomous Driving Division Waymo to Partner with Daimler on Self-Driving Class-8 Trucks
- California Governor Signs Executive Order Banning the Sale of New Combustion Engine Vehicles by 2035
- Hyundai Delivers the World’s First Mass-Produced Fuel Cell Trucks to Customers in Switzerland
- The Lucid Motors Air Sedan’s 900-Volt Architecture Allows for Rapid Charging, Adding 300 Miles of Range in Just 20 Minutes
- Electric Vehicle Startup Fisker Inc. Closes Deal with Magna International to Build its Ocean SUV
- Lucid Motors Raises the Bar for EV Range With 517 Miles on a Single Charge for its Air Sedan
- Robotaxi Startup Voyage Shares Details of its Latest Vehicle Designed to Operate Without a Safety Driver
- GM Renames is Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant 'Factory ZERO’ to Represent the Automaker’s Future