Panasonic has announced a delay in its plans to construct a third battery plant in North America. This decision reflects a broader trend in the electric vehicle (EV) industry, as demand cools and companies recalibrate their strategies to navigate changing market dynamics.
Panasonic, a key battery supplier for Tesla, has its battery manufacturing operations under the umbrella of Panasonic Energy. Despite earlier plans to finalize the location of a new factory by March, Panasonic Group CEO Yuki Kusumi has indicated the decision would be deferred and will only be made “when the timing is right”. (via Reuters)
Kusumi’s direction for Panasonic centers on maximizing the output from existing investments. He suggests that enhancing production capacity through process improvements, such as better machine maintenance, is more prudent than rushing into new facility investments.
This cautionary stance comes amid a broader industry trend where automakers, including giants like General Motors and Ford, are recalibrating their production strategies due to the softening demand for EVs.
The company currently operates a battery plant with Tesla at Giga Nevada, and is building a second facility in Kansas. The new Kansas factory, a $4 billion project producing 2170-type cells, is expected to elevate Panasonic’s annual battery capacity to 88 gigawatt-hours (GWh), with ambitions to expand it to 200 GWh by the early 2030s.
Notably, the Kansas plant initially slated to manufacture Tesla’s 4680 battery cells.