Panasonic currently supplies Tesla with lithium batteries from both the joint venture in Nevada and from Japan. The company’s production lines in that country are more efficient, and Panasonic is now trying to streamline its manufacturing processes in the US so the local factories can compete with those in Japan. There are reserves to increase productivity by 10%.
Corresponding Nikkei Asian ReviewDuring the first half of the year, dozens of specialists from Japan traveled to Nevada to improve the performance of a local traction battery manufacturing facility. In the future, this company is to manage the annual production of traction batteries with a total capacity of 43 GW‧h. In the USA, Panasonic is now increasing the performance of the long-used 2170-size lithium cells and will gradually give way to more modern 4680-type cells in the future, which Panasonic is already producing on its pilot line in Japan and in the USA Tesla is meeting the demand powers. At the penultimate quarterly conference, Elon Musk acknowledged that Tesla’s capabilities this year will not be limited by the number of available 4680 cells, but next year this issue could become relevant.
Last month, Panasonic said it intends to build a new battery cell plant in Kansas, but not before 2024. Chinese media last week actively discussed the possibility of Tesla using pack batteries manufactured by Chinese company BYD at its Berlin plant. Tesla electric vehicles now use cylindrical battery cells, and a switch to batteries would significantly complicate the production processes in Berlin, so such rumors should be treated with caution. However, it’s possible that Tesla could use batteries with a different layout in some future electric vehicle models, particularly in China, where it relies heavily on local suppliers.