Tesla and Panasonic begin production at Gigafactory
On Jan. 4, 2017 Tesla Motors and Panasonic began production of battery cells at the brand new Gigafactory in Nevada. This is a giant step forward for Tesla’s electric vehicle production plans, as the batteries at the factory will cost less than 30 percent of Tesla’s current cells. The partnership between Tesla and Panasonic is unique as they both heavily invest into what will be the world’s largest lithium-ion battery factory. Panasonic plans to invest over $1.6 billion of the $5 billion cost of the factory.
Tesla and Panasonic have had a partnership since 2010, when Panasonic invested a small $30 million into the electric vehicle start-up. Since then, the company has acted as a strategic partner to supply battery cells for Tesla’s vehicles. In late December, Panasonic and Tesla began another partnership with the manufacturing of solar panel cells. In 2016, Tesla acquired long term partner, and co-founder and CEO’s Elon Musk’s other company, SolarCity.
Panasonic will invest $256 million into the SolarCity factory in upstate New York. Tesla plans to start production at the solar plant in Summer 2017, and reach full production in 2019. The partnership with Panasonic will produce photovoltaic cells which will be used in the production of solar panels, which Tesla is incorporating into their cars. These cells will also work with SolarCity’s glass roof tiles.
Panasonic has been entering new markets and expanding their products into the automotive industry. As Tesla enters 2017 with big production plans for the much anticipated Model 3, it is very clear that Panasonic has quite a stake in the success of Tesla’s ventures.