Nikkei Asia reported that as early as 2023, Panasonic will begin mass producing next-generation lithium-ion batteries for Tesla “with a fivefold increase in capacity.”
Panasonic to produce batteries for Tesla in 2023
Although the batteries are intended primarily for Tesla, a Panasonic executive said in a November interview that they may be provided to other firms. Tesla will use the batteries to extend the range of electric vehicles while also making them more affordable to manufacture.
Panasonic did not officially confirm the news published at Nikkei, according to Reuters:
“We are studying various options for mass production, including a test production line we are establishing this business year. We don’t, however, have anything to announce at this time.”
According to Nikkei, larger, higher-capacity 4680 batteries might improve electric vehicle ranges by around 20 percent, while Tesla itself claims a 16 percent increase in range. Nikkei reports that the company could improve their Model S’s range from 650 kilometers to 750 kilometers using these batteries.
The Wall Street Journal reported in October that Panasonic is expanding its Wakayama, Japan factory to produce the new batteries in large quantities, and that test production is expected to start in March 2022.
Tesla revealed the next-generation battery cells at a September event in 2020. The firm’s CEO, Elon Musk, stated the cells are six times more powerful and decrease cost per kWh by 14%.
Tesla showed its intentions to produce batteries in-house in 2020
Tesla’s 2020 event was focused on the company’s efforts to produce batteries in-house, to reduce the risk of disruptions from relying on external suppliers like Panasonic.
In a series of tweets posted ahead of the event, Musk also stated that Tesla would continue to acquire battery cells from external vendors:
We intend to increase, not reduce battery cell purchases from Panasonic, LG & CATL (possibly other partners too). However, even with our cell suppliers going at maximum speed, we still foresee significant shortages in 2022 & beyond unless we also take action ourselves.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 21, 2020
On the other hand, Musk has said that he expects Tesla’s in-house production of the 4680 cells to begin in 2022 and that the first vehicles equipped with these cells will hit the road in the same year.
At the company’s expected earnings call on Wednesday, January 26th, when Musk has promised to provide an official product roadmap update for the Cybertruck following reports of its delay to early 2023, Tesla’s new battery cells will almost certainly be addressed.