The long-awaited new battery-related investment in the US appears to be just around the corner, as more and more rumors emerge.
We already heard about the potential gigafactory twice in March (here and here) and most recently, Nikkei shared another unofficial report that Panasonic weighs building a new battery plant in the US.
According to the article, the Japanese manufacturer has several candidate sites, including in Oklahoma for an independently operated gigafactory, which could start production as early as in the fiscal year 2024 (from April 1, 2024 to March 31, 2025).
A crucial thing in the report is that Panasonic is expected to produce in the US the "new" type of batteries for Tesla vehicles - aka 4680-type cylindrical cells, compared to the 2170-type cells at the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada and 1865-type imported from Japan (for Model S and Model X).
Nikkei says that the investment and its location will be decided based on the local subsidies/support as well as on estimated profitability at the Wakayama Factory site, where Panasonic will install two 4680-type battery production lines (10 GWh/year total).
The scale of the US plant obviously is expected to be much larger to support Tesla's demand and potentially serve other customers. Nikkei hints that the output might be comparable to the Tesla Gigafactory 1 in Nevada (roughly 39 GWh/year). If we take into consideration how quickly Tesla expands, and that we are talking about 2024/2025, maybe it will be even larger, like 100 GWh/year level.
Tesla utilizes the new 4680-type cells in the recently launched Made-in-Texas Tesla Model Y.
Panasonic new battery investment (rumors) in brief:
- several locations under consideration, including Oklahoma and Kansas
- independently operated plant
- production start as early as in fiscal year 2024 (from April 1, 2024 to March 31, 2025)
- potential cell type: 4680-type cylindrical cells for Tesla (and potentially other customers)
- potential production scale: comparable to the Tesla Gigafactory 1 in Nevada (jointly operated with Tesla, which currently produces up to around 39 GWh of 2170-type cylindrical cells annually)