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Panasonic plans to build a new large factory in the US to make Tesla batteries

Panasonic Energy CEO Kazuo Tadanobu holds a prototype of the new 4680 format the battery cell, on the left, next to the current 2170 battery supplied to Tesla. (Reuters)

TOKYO – Japanese Panasonic Corp. is looking to buy land in the United States for a super factory to produce one type of product tram Public broadcaster NHK reported on Friday.

Panasonic is considering building a plant, at a cost of several billion dollars, in Oklahoma or Kansas near Texas, where Tesla is preparing a new EV plant, NHK reported. NHK did not give a timeline for Panasonic’s project in the US.

NHK did not cite its sources. Panasonic says the reported plan is not something it announced.

A longtime supplier to Tesla, Panasonic says it plans to start mass production of new lithium-ion batteries for Tesla before the end of March 2024 with two new production lines at the western Japan plant in Wakayama.

The 4680 format battery (46 mm wide and 80 mm high) is about 5 times larger than the batteries currently supplied to Tesla, meaning the US automaker will be able to reduce production costs and improve range. vehicle operation.

Panasonic’s relationship with Tesla spanned more than a decade when Tesla signed an agreement making the Japanese company a key battery supplier.

Since then, Tesla has ramped up production and diversified its supply chain to other companies, including Chinese manufacturers that make cheaper lithium iron phosphate (LFP) power packs like Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. (CATL).

Sources told Reuters last year, South Korea’s LG Energy Solution Ltd also planned to produce 4680 batteries.

Panasonic shares fell 3% in the morning purchase Tokyo compared with the 2.5% decline of the Nikkei 225 index.

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