Tokyo, Japan — Panasonic Corporation released a statement on Thursday that the company is working with Tesla Inc. (TSLA) on developing the new 4680 cell for mass production at the Gigafactory Nevada. Panasonic has been a long time Tesla partner and has been the major supplier of cells for the U.S. made Tesla vehicles.
Panasonic’s Chief Financial Officer said in a company briefing (vis Reuters):
We have considerable know-how for that battery. We started working on it immediately after Tesla’s Battery Day (in September) and are also preparing to set up a prototype production line in parallel.Hirokazu Umeda / CFO Panasonic Corporation.
The above statement by Panasonic reveals that in the first phase, a pilot production line will be set up at Tesla-Panasonic before going on full production. A large pilot production line for the 4680 cells is already set up by Tesla at its Fremont factory in the building known as the Magic Cube.
Panasonic CFO also said that the company is adding another production line at Giga Nevada cell production plant to increase the production capacity by 10% i.e. 38-39 GWh per year by around 2022.
Tesla also recently acquired a cell module manufacturing company in Germany. This implies that the Silicon Valley-based automaker is aiming to integrate the 4680 cells directly into the first-production Tesla Model Y SUVs at the Gigafactory Berlin next year.
In addition to the increased power, range, and energy density, Tesla’s groundbreaking 4680 cell form factor also helps in lower manufacturing cost through its simplicity, fewer parts required to be put together, and a 5X reduction in the electrical path.
This information was disseminated at length by CEO Elon Musk and Drew Baglino who is the SVP of Powertrain and Energy Engineering at Tesla in their joint presentation at Battery Day.