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Panasonic's non-commitment clouds Tesla's Gigafactory

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Panasonic? Tesla? Gigafactory?

At the same time that Panasonic Corp. revealed its $2.9 billion two-year restructuring plan, the Japanese electronics giant expressed its apprehension over participating in Tesla Motors Inc.'s lithium-ion battery project.

Panasonic President Kazuhiro Tsuga told reporters in Tokyo that he was concerned about the investment risks for Tesla's 'Gigafactory' battery project.

In reaction to this statement, the electric vehicle manufacturer's stocks dipped by 3.2 per cent on Thursday but its shares are already up 440 per cent in the past 12 months.

Earlier in 2014 the Japanese electronics giant had previously indicated it was considering an investment of $1 billion in Tesla's state-of-the-art battery plant.

In February 2014, Tesla revealed it was looking at sites in the USA to house its proposed large-scale lithium-ion battery factory which it plans to open in 2017.

The EV manufacturer aims for the plant to reach full capacity by 2020, providing battery packs to about 500,000 cars a year. It claimed that by 2020, the Gigafactory would produce more lithium ion batteries annually than were produced worldwide in 2013.

Panasonic already has a contract with Tesla to supply battery cells until 2017. If Panasonic became a partner in the Gigafactory project it would give Tesla easy access to Panasonic's comprehensive supply chain but without Panasonic's support Tesla will have to consider alternative partners with the necessary battery supply chain expertise and resources.

- Paul Buckley
??EE Times Europe

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