Panasonic will supply Tesla with new battery cells, at its Gigafactory Nevada plant. The Japanese multinational electronics company has already started converting production lines at Gigafactory 1.
What are the Benefits of These New Battery Cells?
According to Vice President of Battery Technology at Panasonic Energy of North America Celina Mikolajczak, the benefits are abundant.
First of all, the new battery cells offer greater energy density. Secondly, they also offer an improved, fast-charging performance. This means that Tesla’s vehicles will be able to charge at faster rates.
Mikolajczak did not specify how much faster the charging-time will get. She stated, however, that the new battery cells will make Tesla’s cars more efficient, and will increase the vehicles’ range.
Also worth noting is that prior to her stint in Panasonic, Mikolajczak served as a Senior Battery Cell Quality Control Manager in Tesla for six years.
Tesla and Panasonic Further Expanding Their Partnership
Both companies have a long-standing collaboration, and it is set to be expanded even further. Last Thursday, Panasonic CFO Hirokazu Umeda announced that the company is set to produce 4680 battery cells for Tesla. Umeda also stated that Panasonic has started working on a prototype manufacturing line for the 4680 cells since last month.
The 4680 Battery Cells will increase energy density by five times, increase vehicle range by 16%, and improve power output by six times.
Last August, Panasonic also invested $100 million in Tesla’s Giga Nevada plant to add a new battery cell production line.
This investment enables it to increase battery cell production output by 10%, to 39 GWh per year. According to Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei, this will also allow Panasonic to improve the energy density of the cells by 5%.
Tesla’s main objective is to vertically integrate the various stages of production. During Battery Day, it was announced that in order to convert the entire fleet of vehicles worldwide to electric ones, the company must take its battery production capacity to 10 TWh. Tesla’s current factories are able to produce approximately 15 GWh, or 0.15 TWh of battery cells per year.
Since Tesla’s current factories are not scalable enough to reach that quota, the company needs to secure deals with third-party suppliers. Last July, South-Korean chemical company LG Chem Ltd announced plans to start producing batteries for Tesla.
Third-party suppliers have undoubtedly helped Tesla cope with ever-growing demand for its products. Panasonic are proving to be very reliable partners of the automaker.