Panasonic considers new U.S. factory for the supply of 4680 batteries to Tesla

Asian Tech Press (May 11) -- Japanese electronics maker Panasonic Holdings Corp. is considering building a new battery plant in the U.S. to supply 4680 batteries to Tesla Inc.

Panasonic is evaluating several locations for the new EV battery plant, including one in Oklahoma, which is close to Tesla's Texas gigafactory.

The 104-year-old Japanese company plans to produce a new high-capacity lithium-ion battery with the code name "4680", at the new factory, with the goal of starting production as early as fiscal year 2024. In addition, Panasonic intends to operate the plant independently.

Site selection will also take into account the local government subsidies and other support measures. The final decision on whether to build the plant will depend on the profitability of the new type of lithium-ion battery. Panasonic will begin production of 4680 batteries at its Japanese plant in Wakayama Prefecture in fiscal year 2023.

Panasonic has already operated a joint battery plant with Tesla in Nevada, investing about 200 billion yen ($1.5 billion) in the joint venture.

Since then, the plant has received additional investment and currently has a capacity of about 39 gigawatt hours (GWh) a year, to which the new plant is likely to be comparable in size.

Panasonic aims to supply 4680 batteries for Tesla's Cybertruck electric pickup and other models. In addition, the Japanese electronics maker is looking to strengthen its battery business for high-end cars in Europe and the United States.

The company had already indicated its willingness to supply 4680 batteries to Tesla in March, when Japanese national broadcaster NHK reported that Panasonic was looking at sites in Oklahoma and Kansas to build a new factory to supply batteries to Tesla.

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