Tesla pushes Panasonic to speed up 4680 battery cell development

Panasonic has been feeling the pressure to ramp up development of Tesla’s next generation 4680 battery cells.

The company’s chief financial officer Hirokazu Umeda revealed on Wednesday that while Tesla is seeking faster development of the new cells, there is still very high demand for the 2170 cells that are currently used in their lineup of electric vehicles (EVs.)

“We can’t say more than what has been released, but we are getting many requests. We seeing continued strong demand from Tesla, for 2170 batteries, but also for faster development of the 4680,” Umeda said. (via Bloomberg)

The admission comes after reports that Panasonic was considering building an EV battery plant in the US dedicated to producing 4680 cells. The Japan-based company is considering multiple sites across the US, including in Oklahoma and Kansas.

Panasonic has said previously it plans to begin mass production of the 4680 battery cell at its Wakayama factory in western Japan before the end of March 2024. The company was originally hoping to begin initial low volume production in 2022 to iron out any kinks ahead of mass production in 2023.

To accommodate the new production lines, Panasonic is currently spending around 80 billion yen ($704 million) to expand their facility in Japan.

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