Panasonic Corp., a major partner in Tesla Inc.’s batterymaking “gigafactory” near Reno, Nev., says it has no plans do the same in China to support the electric car company’s new assembly plant in Shanghai.
President Kazuhiro Tsuga tells reporters Tesla has the option of supplying its Chinese plants with batteries from local producers or source Panasonic batteries from Nevada.
Panasonic agreed to become a major partner in Tesla’s U.S. battery factory. The facility eventually is intended to expand to a $5 billion complex with the capacity to make enough batteries per year to power 500,000 EVs.
Panasonic vowed to hike its initial $250 million in the gigafactory project to $1.5 billion by 2020. But it may never hit that target. Relations between the two companies have become strained.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk complained in April that Panasonic production inefficiencies hampered the launch of the carmaker’s critically important Model 3 sedan. At the time, reports said Panasonic had refused to invest further in the project until Tesla’s vehicle output grew.
Earlier this month, Tesla announced it had signed a deal to supply its Shanghai assembly plant with batteries from China’s CATL (Contemporary Amperex Technology Co.).
Lead-acid batteries haven’t changed much since 1859.
Volkswagen AG may be ordered to recall 124,000 of its plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles because their high-voltage charging systems contain a carcinogenic part.
Panasonic Corp. has a suspended a Canadian supplier of cobalt used to make batteries for Tesla electric cars because the metal was mined in Cuba and may be subject to U.S. sanctions.