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Panasonic not committed to Tesla's Gigafactory project

Posted: 01 Apr 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Panasonic  Tesla Motors  battery cell  electric vehicle  Gigafactory 

Panasonic Corp. has announced that it is not yet ready to commit to Tesla Motors' 'Gigafactory' lithium-ion battery project because the concept could increase Panasonic's investment risks. Panasonic's take on the Tesla project was revealed at a meeting where the Japanese electronics company stated its $2.9 billion, two-year restructuring plan.

This week Panasonic's president Kazuhiro Tsuga told reporters in Tokyo that he was concerned about the investment risks for Tesla's 'Gigafactory' battery project.

Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla's share price dipped by 3.2 per cent on Thursday in reaction to the Panasonic statement but Tesla's shares are already up 440 per cent in the past 12 months.

Earlier in 2014 Panasonic had previously indicated it was considering an investment of $1 billion in Tesla's modern battery plant. In February 2014 Tesla revealed the company was looking at sites in the USA to site its proposed large-scale lithium-ion battery factory that Tesla plans to open it in 2017.

The company aims for the plant to reach full capacity by 2020, providing battery packs to about 500,000 cars a year. Tesla claimed that by 2020, the Gigafactory would produce more lithium ion batteries annually than were produced worldwide in 2013.

Panasonic already has a contract with Tesla to supply battery cells until 2017. If Panasonic became a partner in the Gigafactory project it would give Tesla easy access to Panasonic's comprehensive supply chain but without Panasonic's support Tesla will have to consider alternative partners with the necessary battery supply chain expertise and resources.

- Paul Buckley
  EE Times Europe

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