Panasonic looking for a U.S. website for EV battery plant to serve Tesla, others


Panasonic Corp. is engaged in talks over the location for a brand new U.S. manufacturing unit that might provide Tesla Inc. and probably different EV producers with next-generation lithium-ion batteries, individuals accustomed to the matter mentioned.

The longtime Tesla provider is a number of places for the multibillion-dollar manufacturing unit, together with one in Oklahoma and one other in Kansas, the individuals mentioned, asking to not be recognized as a result of the discussions are confidential. The plant might start working as quickly as 2024, they mentioned.

Although nonetheless at an early stage, the plans signify a daring step for Panasonic. Even because it has confronted excessive demand for batteries from Tesla, Panasonic has been slower to construct scale in contrast with rival suppliers LG Vitality Resolution of South Korea and China’s Modern Amperex Know-how Co.

Within the new U.S. plant, Panasonic plans to make a newly developed, larger and extra highly effective “4680” battery, one of many individuals mentioned. Panasonic could set up traces for different batteries on the new facility, as properly, although that may rely upon buyer demand.

Due to the bigger quantity of 4680 batteries, fewer cells and associated components are wanted to energy an EV, main Elon Musk to tout the expertise as the important thing to unlocking $25,000 Teslas. Panasonic will begin mass manufacturing of 4680 batteries in Japan within the fiscal 12 months beginning April 2023. Forward of that, the corporate is organising a prototype manufacturing line for the batteries, additionally in Japan.

Japanese nationwide broadcaster NHK reported earlier this month that Panasonic was websites in Oklahoma and Kansas to construct its new plant. The places would profit from being near the brand new manufacturing unit that Tesla is bringing on-line in Texas, the place it just lately established its headquarters. A committee in Oklahoma’s Mayes County has been finding out a proposal to “entice a enterprise” to arrange operations, in accordance with a public doc posted earlier this month, although it didn’t establish the get together.

The timing and finances for Panasonic’s U.S. manufacturing unit could shift going ahead primarily based partly on the corporate’s expertise constructing 4680 manufacturing traces in Japan over the months forward, one of many individuals mentioned. Panasonic can be weighing potential plant places primarily based on land and labor costs and the provision of state subsidies, the individual added.

Panasonic has not introduced plans to construct a brand new battery manufacturing unit within the U.S., a spokesperson for the Osaka-based firm mentioned Monday.

Kazuo Tadanobu, CEO of Panasonic’s power enterprise, mentioned in an interview with Bloomberg Information final week that the placement of any potential new factories can be evaluated primarily based on partnerships and the economics of sure areas. Nothing has been determined, he mentioned, including that in the interim Panasonic is concentrated on constructing a “strong basis” for future 4680 manufacturing at its Wakayama facility in Japan.

Lengthy partnership

Panasonic and Tesla have a longstanding relationship, with the 2 firms collectively working the huge battery plant generally known as the Gigafactory outdoors of Reno, Nev. Whereas Tesla plans to make the 4680 cells in-house, it has requested Panasonic to start producing them as properly. The Japanese firm desires to promote the batteries to different automakers, and it’s unlikely Tesla will spend money on any Panasonic plant within the U.S., the individual mentioned.

Panasonic is betting that near a century of expertise making automobile batteries and its fame for upholding security will give it an edge over rivals in producing 4680 cells, that are seen as significantly tough to mass produce.

The Japanese firm’s transfer comes as a slew of automakers and battery producers announce plans to ramp up capability to fabricate batteries within the U.S. in preparation for a coming wave of EVs.

In September, Ford Motor Co. and Korea’s SK Innovation Co. introduced plans to spend $11.four billion setting up an meeting plant and three battery factories in Tennessee and Kentucky, set to start coming on-line in 2025.

Just a few months later, Toyota Motor Corp. mentioned it’s going to open its first battery manufacturing unit within the U.S. in North Carolina, investing $1.29 billion with plans to start out manufacturing additionally in 2025.

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