Tesla (TSLA) recently introduced plans to manufacture its own battery cells called ‘4680’, but now we hear that Panasonic will also manufacture the new cell for it, according to a new report.
While Tesla has been working on its own chemical chemicals for years, it has always worked with experienced battery cell manufacturers to manufacture them while focusing on the manufacture of battery modules and kits.
Panasonic has been Tesla’s main partner when it comes to supplying batteries, but the company also recently used LG Chem and CATL.
At its ‘Battery Day’ event in September, the carmaker announced a long-awaited change in its strategy.
It has introduced a new tableless battery cell in a larger format with a new chemistry and plans to manufacture it itself with its own production machines.
However, CEO Elon Musk also made it clear during the event that Tesla will continue to use battery manufacturers and buy all the batteries they can get to support an ambitious growth plan.
However, the CEO did not say whether the battery manufacturers would manufacture the new battery cell from Tesla, or that they would still buy cells with the current 2170 and 18650 format, which use all of their electric vehicles.
Now Nikkei Asia, a business newspaper in Asia, reports that Panasonic is building production lines to produce prototypes of Tesla’s 4680 battery cells at its existing facilities:
“Panasonic will build a prototype production line at existing facilities. The cost of the project is expected to be ten million dollars. ”
The publication reports that production of the prototype cells will begin next year and this could lead to a new supply agreement with Tesla.
Currently, the new cells are only manufactured in a pilot plant in Fremont, but Tesla is already working on large-scale factories to manufacture the batteries at Gigafactory Berlin and elsewhere.
This is an interesting development.
On Battery Day, Elon made it clear that Tesla will buy battery cells from other suppliers, even after setting up their own battery production.
However, he did not make it clear that the 4680 cells were being manufactured by the other suppliers, as the new tableless design and various components in the cell required Tesla to design new manufacturing processes.
While this makes sense considering all the benefits of the new form factor, but we also know that it will take a while before Tesla switches all of its vehicle programs to the new format.
Interestingly enough, besides Panasonic, we also recently reported on LG Chem talking about manufacturing new battery cells that sounded a lot like Tesla’s 4680, but they never mentioned the carmaker.
If several battery suppliers start manufacturing these cells for Tesla, we can see a real shift in the industry to this new format.
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