Panasonic reports improved financial results in the third quarter of 2021 (FY22 2Q in Japan), with net profit increasing by 30% year-over-year.
As usual, let's take a quick look at the results, including the automotive battery business, which continues to expand.
Panasonic Q3 2021 results
- Sales: 1,742 billion yen ($15.4 billion) - up 4% year-over-year
- Operating profit: 96.8 billion yen ($0.85 billion) - up 4% year-over-year
- Net profit: 76.5 billion yen ($0.67 billion) - up 30% year-over-year
Our focus is on the Automotive category, which includes automotive solutions and lithium-ion batteries for xEVs. The overall sales were effectively down due to the lower sales of automotive solutions.
- Sales: 357 billion yen ($3.15 billion) - no change year-over-year
- Operating profit: -2.7 billion yen (-$24 million)
-0.8% gross margin
However, the automotive cylindrical batteries segment was up and continues to be profitable. The lithium-ion battery production at the Tesla Gigafactory 1 in Nevada was profitable for the full year (FY2021) and remains profitable through 2021.
The Automotive Batteries subcategory.
Panasonic supplies Tesla with:
- 2170-type of cylindrical cells for the Model 3/Model Y (produced at the Gigafactory in Nevada)
- 1865-type of cylindrical cells for the Model S/Model X (imported from Japan to the U.S.)
According to Panasonic, the sales and profitability of automotive cylindrical batteries increased in Q3 2021.
Some of the production lines at the Tesla Gigafactory 1 in Nevada were temporary suspended, but we guess that they are now up.
In August, Panasonic started production of 2170-type cells on a new production line. As far as we know, it's the 14th line, which brings the total output up to 38-39 GWh (compared to 35 GWh previously).
Together with the Japanese plants (1865-type cells), Panasonic is able to offer a combined output of cylindrical cells of 50 GWh per year. It would suggest that 1865 capacity is at roughly 10 GWh per year (enough for at least 100,000 Tesla Model S/X per year).
"In Energy, we will respond to expanding EV demand. With a new production line installed in North America, we expanded our production capacity equivalent to 50GWh, combining Japan and U.S. capacity."
Probably the most important battery topic for Panasonic right now is the 4680-type cylindrical cells for Tesla. The company recently unveiled a prototype 4680-type cell, which is expected to be the next stage of cylindrical cells.
We guess that the pilot production of this new type will start next year, but then the company will have to announce some serious investment in new lines/plants and a new deal with Tesla, as other manufacturers are not using 4680-type cells (actually, no one does yet).
"Regarding 4680 cells, we will accelerate R&D. Equipment for prototype production is
scheduled for installation in FY22."