Tesla battery supplier Panasonic Holdings Corp is still weighing up which US state it will site its new battery plant in.
The Japanese conglomerate is looking at potential factory sites in Kansas and Oklahoma to supply the batteries to the US electric automaker’s plant in Texas, two people with knowledge of the plan have said.
“We’ve been making various considerations but we are starting to evaluate,” said Panasonic Energy Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Tadanobu, speaking to reporters during a round table event. No decision had been made yet, he added.
Tadanobu told investors and analysts on Wednesday that the company had shipped samples of its more powerful ‘4680’ format electric car battery to Tesla.
The 4680 format battery – 46 millimetres in width and 80 millimetres in height – is about five times bigger than those that Panasonic currently supplies, meaning the US electric automaker could be in a position to lower production costs and boost vehicles’ driving range.
Panasonic said mass production of the new battery is set to begin before the end of March 2024 at its plant in Wakayama, western Japan, before production is moved to North America.
The Japanese company has partnered with Tesla for more than a decade, supplying batteries for its first cars.
Since then, the electric automaker has its diversified supply chain and brought in other firms such as China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co and South Korea’s LG Energy Solution.
- Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara