Panasonic wants to be Tesla’s sole US battery producer image

The Japanese multinational electronics group has moved to commit further to Tesla’s planned battery “gigafactory”, aiming to become its sole US battery manufacturer.

The move comes rather sudden, as so far the Panasonic Corp – which is today Tesla’s main partner for batteries anyway – made very cautious decisions on the massive battery factory plan – which according to the electric car manufacturer needs additional investments of $3 billion to its own $2 billion direct pledge.

“As we’re not anticipating any sudden tenfold increases in demand or anything like that, we think it is right to break it up step-by-step and invest gradually,” said Yoshio Ito, senior managing executive officer and president of the Japanese firm’s automotive and industrial unit.

According to Ito the plans would call for small investments for the time being, with Panasonic not yet establishing a timeframe for the US expenditure, with the two companies now discussing investment details and further on building and construction plans.

The Japanese giant, who is Tesla’s prime supplier for lithium-ion packs but competes on the auto batteries segment with Samsung SDI Co Ltd, said it doesn’t think there would be any rival producer to bid for Tesla’s battery factory – and could ultimately become the sole manufacturer even if it doesn’t come up with the full sum for the remaining investment needs.

Via Business Insider