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Panasonic reportedly investing in Tesla’s U.S. battery ‘Gigafactory’

Above: Lithium batteries. Lots of 'em.

Image Credit: Bitslammer/Flickr

Tesla has made no secret of its ambitious plans to build a huge lithium-ion battery plant in the U.S. — and now it appears to have a powerful partner in Panasonic, one of the world’s biggest makers of batteries.

Panasonic is investing $194 million to $291 million into the plant, according to a report in Nikkei Asian Review, which states that Panasonic could eventually invest as much as $1 billion. The plant could cost up to $5 billion in total.

Panasonic and Tesla already enjoy a close relationship. Tesla’s decision to use the same type of lithium-ion batteries found in laptop computers means that it needed a volume supplier of such batteries. Panasonic fit the bill, and the partnership has helped give Panasonic a 39 percent share of the $660 million annual market for electric-car batteries.

The Gigafactory will produce more lithium-ion batteries on its own by 2020 (.pdf) than the entire worldwide production in 2013, Tesla boasts. That could lead to a worldwide doubling of demand for lithium batteries, helping drive down costs.

But it could also mean that previously untapped reserves of lithium — like in Afghanistan — will become much more economically and politically valuable.

The company has yet to announce where the Gigafactory will be built — but reports suggest Sparks, Nevada may be a leading candidate.

Tesla offered no comment when contacted by VentureBeat.

More information:

Panasonic Corporation group of companies is a globally recognized manufacturer of electric and electronic products that range from electronic components to consumer electronic products, home appliances, factory automation equipment, in... read more »

Tesla's goal is to accelerate the world's transition to electric mobility with a full range of increasingly affordable electric cars. Palo Alto, California-based Tesla designs and manufactures EVs and EV powertrain components. Tesla ha... read more »

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8 comments
Simon Morris
Simon Morris

It will be a massive driver for lower costs and innovation of battery tech too. Very smart.

Zach Dyler
Zach Dyler

It isnt a small play when this factory is going to double the worlds current lith ion battery production.

Jerry Hsiang
Jerry Hsiang

Panasonic has been in the battery industry for at least 4 decades...this is a small play on their side

Chung Yang
Chung Yang

Smart move by Panasonic. Very Smart. If only Sony was as forward looking ...

Asaad Hutchinson
Asaad Hutchinson

Awesome for Elon Musk, I'm working on an alternative. :)