Panasonic ponders Tesla lithium battery ‘Gigafactory’ investment
Industry sources indicate that Panasonic may be willing to earmark as much as $1 billion to a project to create a major integrated lithium battery manufacturing facility producing lower-cost battery cells for EVs. Cheaper batteries are key objective of Tesla in its drive to produce an electric vehicle with a $35,000 price tag.
Tesla is expected to divulge details of the ‘Gigafactory’ concept in the near future but the facility is likely to be based in the USA and begin shipping batteries in 2017.
Panasonic, which is currently Tesla’s primary supplier of lithium-ion batteries, is expected partner several Japanese materials makers as part of the enterprise.
Industry analysts believe that Tesla based on its own automotive needs could ultimately become the world’s largest producer of Li-ion batteries. As such Tesla could also be considering plans to broaden the company’s horizons and supply batteries for energy storage applications for electric power suppliers.
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