TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Panasonic Holdings Corp, which makes batteries for electric car maker Tesla, is finalizing a decision on which U.S. state it will choose as the site for a new battery factory, said a senior executive on Friday.
“We have made various thoughts, but we are starting to finalize,” said Kazuo Tadanobu, CEO of Panasonic Energy, speaking to reporters during a panel discussion. No decision has yet been made, he added.
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The Japanese conglomerate is exploring potential factory sites in Kansas and Oklahoma to supply the batteries to the US automaker’s plant in Texas, two people with knowledge of the project said.
Tadanobu told investors and analysts on Wednesday that the company had shipped samples of its more powerful “4680” form factor electric car battery to Tesla.
The 4680-size battery – 46 millimeters wide and 80 millimeters tall – is around five times larger than those Panasonic currently supplies, meaning the US electric carmaker could be able to cut production costs and reduce costs. increasing vehicle autonomy.
Panasonic said mass production of the new battery is expected to begin before the end of March 2024 at its plant in Wakayama, western Japan, before production moves to North America.
Panasonic is exploring potential factory sites in Kansas and Oklahoma to supply the batteries to the US electric carmaker’s plant in Texas, two people with knowledge of the plan said.
The Japanese company has partnered with Tesla for more than a decade, supplying batteries for its first cars.
Since then, the electric carmaker has diversified its supply chain and brought in other companies such as Chinese company Contemporary Amperex Technology Co and South Korean company LG Energy Solution.