Back in 2020, Tesla unveiled its 4680 battery cell, a new tab-less battery cell in a bigger format with new chemistry, enabling cheaper and/or longer-range electric vehicles.
The cells have already made it to the Model Y being produced at Gigafactory Texas. For the first time, the automaker its using its own cells to support its electric vehicle production. However, Tesla is going to need so many cells that it is also partnering with current battery suppliers to deploy their own production of the new 4680 cell.
Panasonic, Tesla’s oldest battery partner, has tentatively announced that it would be deploying a prototype production line for the new battery cell. Later, Panasonic’s new CEO, Yuki Kusumi, said that it is prepared to make a “large investment” in producing Tesla’s new battery cell if test production proves successful.
In October 2021, the Japanese manufacturer unveiled its own 4680 cell developed with Tesla. Then, Panasonic greenlit a $700 million investment to produce the 4680 cell in Japan, and it has been rumored to be looking for a location for a new factory in the US to produce the cells.
Earlier this month, we learned that Tesla asked Panasonic to speed up the development of its 4680 battery cell.
It looks like Panasonic listened because Kazuo Tadanobu, CEO of the Panasonic’s energy business, confirmed today that the company has sent Tesla samples of 4680 cells (via Reuters):
Panasonic Holdings Corp, which makes batteries for Tesla, said on Wednesday it had shipped samples of its more powerful 4680 format electric car battery to the U.S electric vehicle maker as it prepares for a surge in North American power pack production.
A pilot line, created first in Japan, made it possible to start large-scale prototype production in May.
The CEO reiterated that mass production is set to start during the next fiscal year starting in March. He also confirmed the rumors that it plans to eventually have 4680 production capacity in North America.
As we previously reported, Panasonic is rumored to be planning a giant new battery factory in the US, possibly in Oklahoma, to supply Tesla with 4680 cells.
Tesla is using 4680 cells in its new Model Y produced at Gigafactory Texas, but it is also expected to power all future electric vehicles, including the Cybertruck.
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