During this week, around Panasonic there have been rumors about its intention to establish a new battery production plant in the United States to supply Tesla’s demand for the new 4680 cells. Hirokazu Umeda, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Japanese company, has offered some arguments in favor of this decision, admitting that Tesla is putting pressure on them to accelerate the development of the production of these cells.
Panasonic already has a cell plant on North American soil, in Nevada, together with the Tesla factory in Fremont, which it manages in collaboration with the Californian manufacturer. There are manufactured cells 2170 that Tesla implements in the Model 3 and Model Y batteries for which there is still great demand. The Japanese manufacturer confirmed the agreement for the production of 4680 cells from 2023 at its plant in the prefecture of Wakayamain Japan.
According to company reports, this second factory would be installed in a location near the new plant in Austin, Texas, recently opened. By now, Panasonic has allocated a total investment of more than $700 million with which to deal with the adaptation and reconstruction of the Wakayama facilities. There he announces the construction of two additional production lines those currently in existence for the production of 4680 cells. Once renovated, the factory will have an estimated annual production capacity of 10GWhenough to power 150,000 electric cars.
The size of the agreement between Panasonic and Tesla would offset the cost of building a new plant, a cost that can exceed billions given the tremendous complexity involved in a battery factory of this level. In return they would be removed transport costs, which would mean great savings for the firm.
Umeda did not provide details on these Panasonic facilities in the United States. “We cannot say more than what has been published, but we are receiving many requests. We are seeing continued strong demand from Tesla, for the 2170 batteries, but also for faster development of the 4680,” he said.
Citing sources related to this topic, Bloomberg has indicated that Panasonic will manufacture the 4680 cells in this new plant in the United States. Based on this information, Oklahoma and Kansas they have been doing everything possible to attract the attention of Panasonic so that it decides to put these facilities on its territory. Their respective administrations are very interested in achieving this and offer financial incentive packagesespecially considering the number of jobs the battery plant would create in both states.
A Panasonic plant in Oklahoma or Kansas would benefit the Japanese conglomerate and give it a potential advantage over other Tesla suppliers such as CATL and LG. In either state the distance to the new Texas silver is short, which would facilitate the logistics of operations between both facilities. The laborious process of moving batteries would be eliminated, improving the supply of components to the Austin facility, which already produces Tesla Model Ys with the expected 4680 cells.