Japan's Panasonic will start producing new lithium-ion batteries for Tesla's electric cars from early 2023. The Nikkei also reported Monday, January 24 that the Japanese battery maker also plans to invest around 80 billion yen to production facilities in Japan.
Powerpack, an electric battery produced by Panasonic, is claimed to help make electric vehicles (EV) more attractive to motorists because they are more economical. Those savings can add and expand roaming range by about a fifth or 20 percent. The Nikkei reported this although there has been no further confirmation of the claim.
“We are studying various options for mass production, including a test production line that we built this business year. However, we have nothing to announce at this time,” Panasonic said in a statement sent to Reuters.
Panasonic launched the 4680 format battery (46 millimeters wide and 80 millimeters high) last October. This size is about five times larger than the batteries currently supplied to Tesla. The battery is also expected to help US electric vehicle makers lower production costs.
According to a Nikkei report, Panasonic will manufacture 4680 batteries at a factory in Wakayama prefecture in western Japan, with an output of less than 10 gigawatt hours a year, the equivalent of about 150,000 vehicles.
Panasonic is the sole maker of Tesla's more advanced batteries, and ensures it remains a major supplier to the US electric car company. At least for the more expensive models, even as today's EV makers continue to look for battery suppliers in China and elsewhere, which are cheaper and last longer.