Tesla battery supplier Panasonic pondering additional 4680 investment in Kansas: report

Tesla battery supplier Panasonic is reportedly considering an additional investment in Kansas. This potential expansion, reportedly known internally as Phase 3, would reportedly involve the buildout of new battery production lines. The main customer for the additional output would reportedly be Tesla, whose Giga Nevada facility is a joint venture with Panasonic.  

Citing a person reportedly familiar with the matter, Nikkei Asia noted that the scale of the additional investment would be similar in size to Panasonic’s current De Soto plant, which is costing the company about $4 billion to construct. One of the publication’s sources claimed, however, that the plan is still in its early stages, at least for now. “No final decision has been made,” Nikkei’s source noted, though a decision on Phase 3 is expected by the end of the year.

The publication’s sources have noted that Panasonic would likely utilize the additional capacity to make 4680 cells, which are expected to feature an energy capacity that’s about five times greater than conventional 2170 cells. Panasonic is not alone in ramping 4680 cell production, as Tesla itself and competitors such as LG Energy Solution are also developing 4680 batteries.  

Panasonic’s potential expansion of its Kansas operations comes at a rather interesting time. Previous reports have claimed that Panasonic had already spent a notable portion of its initial investment budget for the De Soto site due to the United States’ construction costs. Despite this, Mitsutaka Fujita, a researcher at Techno Systems Research, noted that Panasonic’s plan seems to suggest a steady demand from Tesla. 

The analyst noted that Tesla is “making a decent profit, even after its price cuts.” This should give Tesla an edge over conventional automakers, especially those that still rely on conventional combustion-powered cars and hybrids to even out the losses from their electric vehicle business. Fujita also noted that Tesla is likely pushing to get more 4680 batteries from suppliers, considering the delays in the company’s own 4680 efforts and the ramp of new vehicles like the Cybertruck, Tesla Semi, and the next-generation Roadster. 

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Tesla battery supplier Panasonic pondering additional 4680 investment in Kansas: report


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