Panasonic Corp. plans to upgrade its battery manufacturing facility in Japan to manufacture advanced battery cells for Tesla. Despite this, the company is yet to receive a purchase order from the electric vehicle maker, a source familiar with the matter revealed.
At present Panasonic is producing battery cells at a joint facility in the U.S. and also at its two plants in Japan.
In Japan, cylindrical lithium-ion “18650” cells are being produced which the company supplies typically for Tesla Model S and Model X, while Plant in Nevada handles production of higher-energy density “2170” cells for highly demanded Model 3 vehicles.
Panasonic is planning to revamp one of its Japanese plants because it wants to shift its production line from 18650 battery cells to 2170 cells, the source said in a private conversation. A Japanese newspaper also revealed that the company has been planning for an upgrade, but it would take place by the end of 2020.
Panasonic declined to support the news and said that nothing has been planned yet.
Panasonic considered the development when Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said that Panasonic had been obstructing the output of the Model 3 since July. He also posted a comment opposing the company’s 35 GWh capacity plan.
Panasonic admitted that it had installed its equipment for the Noveda plant with a capacity of 35 GWh at the end of March, but still, operations does not include all the installed equipment.