Panasonic has officially announced that its Energy Company will produce the new 4680 cylindrical lithium-ion batteries in Japan "in order to expand its business globally."
The company will establish a production facility at its Wakayama Factory in western Japan to manufacture 4680-type battery cells, which were first unveiled in October 2021.
The cells and manufacturing line are under development specifically at Tesla's request.
"To contribute to the rapid adoption of EVs, Panasonic has been working to enhance its line-up of automotive lithium-ion batteries. Currently, Panasonic is developing a new high-capacity lithium-ion battery, the "4680", in multiple locations within Japan. The company will progressively develop production capabilities in preparation for the full rollout."
However, there is a catch. Panasonic intends to start series production in the fiscal year ending in March 2024, which means that it might happen between April 1, 2023 and March 31, 2024. That's from over 1 to more than 2 years from now.
The Japanese supplier will build two production lines, but it did not reveal the investment amount or manufacturing output. The rumor, reported by Nikkei in January, mentioned an investment of 80 billion yen ($704 million) and 10 GWh/year output.
"Along with structural improvements, two additional production lines as well as utility facilities will be established at the Wakayama Factory, and productivity verification and mass production are set to begin in the fiscal year ending in March 2024."
In other words, in the initial 1-2 years, Tesla is basically on its own, regarding the 4680-type batteries. Earlier this month, Tesla announced that in January it achieved a milestone of producing 1 millionth 4680-type battery cell.
That's enough for around 1,000 Tesla Model Y cars, that will be produced at the Tesla Giga Austin plant in Texas, but far behind the initial forecast.