During a media roundtable, Panasonic unveiled today a prototype of its upcoming new, high-capacity cylindrical lithium-ion battery: the 4680-type (a diameter of 46 mm and height of 80 mm).
This is a new type of battery on which the company has been working, at least since Tesla officially announced the new form factor in September 2020.
With the 4680's improved specs and lower costs, Panasonic would like to enter a new phase of its automotive battery business and already hinted at a willingness to investment in the project
According to Reuters, Panasonic has not revealed the chemistry, or details on when and where it will enter series production for the 4680 battery cells.
Tesla also works on its battery tech in-house and recently said that is now "producing an increasing number of battery packs for testing purposes," which is a stage clearly beyond battery cell prototypes.
As far as we know, at least a few other manufacturers also work on the 4680-type, hoping to receive a volume order from Tesla. However, Panasonic's project might be the most advanced one.
Company's battery chief Kazuo Tadanobu said:
"We have developed this because of the strong desire of the other party, and we think this can only lead to stronger ties,"
Panasonic says no to LFP
By the way of the presentation, Panasonic announced also that the company will not offer Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) EV batteries, often seen as an affordable alternative for entry-level, standard range EVs or energy storage systems.
Kazuo Tadanobu said:
"...Panasonic had no plans to make cheaper Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) batteries for more affordable EVs."
It's interesting because this market is significant. Tesla uses LFP - the company switched its entire lineup of standard range vehicles to LFP - and according to some reports, even Apple is searching for a LFP battery supplier.