Is Tesla's Gigafactory battery project about to stall?

March 28, 2014 //By Paul Buckley
Is Tesla's Gigafactory battery project about to stall?
Panasonic Corp. has declared that the company is not yet committed to participating in Tesla Motors Inc.’s 'Gigafactory' lithium-ion battery project because the concept could increase Panasonic’s investment risks. 

Panasonic's views on the Tesla project were revealed at a meeting where the Japanese electronics giant announced the company's $2.9 billion, two-year restructuring  plan.

This week Panasonic's President Kazuhiro Tsuga told reporters in Tokyo that he was concerned about the investment risks for Telsla's 'Gigafactory' battery project.

Electric vehicle manufactuer Tesla's share price dipped by 3.2% on Thursday in reaction to the Panasonic statement but Tesla's shares are already up 440% in the past 12 months.

Earlier in 2014 Panasonic had previously indicated it was considering an investment of $1 billion in Tesla’s state-of-the-art battery plant. In February 2014 Tesla revealed the company was looking at sites in the USA to site its proposed large-scale lithium-ion battery factory which Tesla plans to open it in 2017.

The company aims for the plant to reach full capacity by 2020, providing battery packs to about 500,000 cars a year. Tesla claimed that by 2020, the Gigafactory would produce more lithium ion batteries annually than were produced worldwide in 2013.

Panasonic already has a contract with Tesla to supply battery cells until 2017. If Panasonic became a partner in the Gigafactory project it would give Tesla easy access to Panasonic’s comprehensive supply chain but without Panasonic's support Tesla will have to consider alternative partners with the necessary battery supply chain expertise and resources.

Related articles and links:

News articles:

Tesla targets battery innovation to reduce EV costs

Tesla reveals USD5bn lithium-ion battery 'Gigafactory' manufacturing plans

Panasonic ponders Tesla lithium battery 'Gigafactory' investment

Newswatch: Tesla sketches out roadmap for the future?

Newswatch: Will pollution in China cloud Tesla's battery plans?

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