The Japanese corporation, the supplier of lithium-ion cell packs for Tesla’s cars, thinks the fact that the US automaker is planning a massive battery gigafactory could also boost demand from European automakers.
Panasonic has entered an agreement to partly fund the investment in Tesla’s Nevada gigafactory, while also being deeply implicated in the subsequent cell production there. The move could spearhead an even more decisive Li-ion automotive supply leadership, as the cell maker already has among its clients the likes of Volkswagen ag – the world’s second largest automaker.
“The development with Tesla is catching a lot of attention in Europe,” comments Laurent Abadie, who leads Panasonic’s European unit. “It could bring some acceleration to this industry. Especially the German carmakers are trying to catch up.”
Moving away from the battery business, Panasonic is also implicated in the automotive race towards the next generation, driverless cars, with Abadie considering the business segment of optical lenses and sensors used in autonomous cars could grow 10-fold every two years in the near future.
The Tesla plant set to be built in Nevada after the automaker was awarded tax breaks worth as much as $1.3 billion, in which Panasonic is participating, is set to become the largest ever when it comes to lithium-ion cell production – with enough supply for 500,000 cars.