Panasonic Battery Cells Outpaced By Tesla Model 3 Production

Tesla Gigafactory

JUN 28 2018 BY MARK KANE 41

The increasing pace of Tesla Model 3 production is applying pressure to the lithium-ion battery production at the Gigafactory and Panasonic hints now at occasional battery cell shortages.

The Japanese manufacturer is responsible for production of the 2170 cells for the Model 3 and energy storage systems (Powerpack and Powerwall) at the Gigafactory.

Tesla Model 3

“Yoshio Ito, head of Panasonic’s automotive business, told the company’s general shareholders meeting on Thursday there had been a “sharp improvement in production” that was leading to occasional battery (cell) shortages.”

The production rate of 5,000 Model 3 a week would require roughly 400 MWh of batteries every seven days or more than 20 GWh a year, on top of demand for ESS. But the output will of course not stop at 20 GWh as production of the Model 3 is expected to eventually be at least twice as high (10,000 a week) than the 5,000 target for the end of June.

The number of those small cylindrical cells will be surging into the billions pretty quickly if Tesla pulls off what it hopes for.

Previously, Panasonic was idling a little bit as the early Model 3 ramp-up was months behind the schedule.

“I wouldn’t say the delay (in Tesla’s Model 3 production) had no impact on our business, but we are in close communications with Tesla and working to steadily improve production,” Ito said.

Source: Reuters

Categories: Tesla

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41 Comments on "Panasonic Battery Cells Outpaced By Tesla Model 3 Production"

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20/20 hindsight they should have been stockpiling 2170s all along.

“Stockpiling” appeared to be Panasonic’s main GF business for a while. With 20/20 hindsight, they probably would have been slower hiring employees, installing multiple lines of cell production machinery, producing fewer cells and losing less money.

They have been lending out some of the surplus employees to battery pack assembly…

Also, I suspect their contract with Tesla protects them from actually losing money due to delays — more likely they just got less revenue for a while than hoped for.

No they should have been producing powerwall cells and making a lot more Powerwalls, packs.
From people living locally there they have a lack of employees, leaving battery lines idle.

Perhaps module assembly for storage products was experiencing similar automation problems as the Model 3 packs; just not getting the same media attention?…

Or maybe the different chemistry makes it hard to move around production capacity between the two cell types.

I’m waiting for my potato-battery powered electric car

Use your head…

That’s a Lemon!

If Tesla is talking about building energy storage systems of 120 megawatts or more. Or you have power companies and solar farms talking about how a 30 megawatt storage system is huge. When your looking at 400 megawatts a week of new battery storage being put on line in the form of cars that makes everything else look like a joke compared to it.

20 gigawatts might be way more then a lot of small states and nations whole power grids.

But personally I think it will be battery production that will make or break Tesla.

The worst thing that can happen is a Tesla factory fire that shuts down production for a few weeks.

If a country only produce 20GWh a year – it must be super small AND a developing nation where only the few have access to electricity.

Norway is like 5,3-5.4 million people (about 0.07% of the worlds population), and produce 137TWh of electriciy a year.

Just to compare.. a company hooks up ferries to shore power (so they can shut the engine down) when they’re in the harbour. That is just a few ships, and they use about 4MWh every year.. . and it cost them 1/3 of the price of fuel/oil.

Batteries can be cycled slightly more than 1/yr

Why would someone downvote this? Batteries aren’t supposed to last you a year on a single charge so energy consumption of a country per year and the energy capacity of a battery aren’t a good comparison. Over the course of a year, 1 GWh in batteries could store hundreds of GWh of electricity just like how you can burn hundreds of gallons of gas per year with a 15 gallon gas tank.

The poster above said 20 GW, not GWh and it’s true that 20 GW is more than enough for a small country. By your numbers, Norway averages only 15 GW of power over the course of a year and it has the second highest electricity consumption per capita in the world and is also 29th in the world for total production. This leaves another 170 or so countries that could be completely supplied by a 20 GW system.

Are you talking about power (Watt, W) or energy (Watt-hours, Wh)? I honestly can’t tell.

Seems like Tesla’s power packs give off 1MW/1MWh so about half of his points are valid depending on how you look at it.

At some point Panasonic CEO needs an audit, or just be fired.
Give them a Gold Plated business opportunity and they Slow Walk it and Under Perform.

I would not be obsessed with how many per day,
I would be more concerned with quality of product.

If “Previously, Panasonic was idling a little bit as the early Model 3 ramp-up was months behind the schedule”, then why are PowerWall deliveries still so far behind. I understand there may be issues with having enough installers trained and available but many of the installers are saying they can’t get enough PowerWalls from Tesla. Given Elon’s recent statement that a 1 GWh project will be announced soon ( and the 11,000 projects in Puerto Rico ( are underway, I still think demand is far out stripping production capacity.

Because it also takes two to build a power pack.

One that builds cells and one that talks big, falls on it‘s face, then stands up, complaining that the floor is against them and then starts working.

So Panasonic builds the cells?, and the other is Tesla? – Or ?? – I honestly don’t get the point here.

Tesla put Panasonic in a significant bind this past year with their repeated demands for suppliers to ramp up production only to then suffer another bottleneck delay. Panasonic reported at their annual stockholders meeting they took a financial hit from their GF investment. And none of it was their fault. The cells were flawless and popping out like clockwork. They were so far ahead of Tesla they even loaned Tesla a bunch of employees in the late fall to help hand-build the packs. Carsonight over at Electrek’s forum reported that on the Panasonic side, they would be told to ramp up and would, then would be stuck with millions of cells just sitting around for weeks. So it is very sound management for Panasonic to be conservative about this latest ramp-up and produce “just in time”.

No, they messed up big-time. Panasonic did. The guy they sent in to clean-up the mess at the GF was bowing all over the place, though this was some time ago. But revise history if you want.
This time.
Sure Tesla, should have done better making sure Panasonic was ready to go, but make-up whatever story you want.

What are you talking about? The huge bottleneck, and the equally huge falling-on-its-face production failure, was with Tesla’s battery pack assembly line at Gigafactory 1. Nothing to do with Panasonic’s side of Gigafactory 1, or its ability to make cells.

I can’t even call your assertion here revisionist history. It’s not a reinterpretation of the facts; it’s simply wrong.

“Millions of cells” make up just a thousand Model 3 battery packs. I don’t see any problem with this amount sitting around for a few weeks. They surely planned for a much larger buffer when production is at thousands of units per week…

HVACman, You are suggesting that the hold up with PowerWall and PowerPack deliveries is Tesla, but the large PowerPack installation in Australia used LG cells? Maybe the difference is the state of Panasonic delivery now versus last year when the Australian order came through. Its all very interesting, but as my Model 3 will be delivered this weekend and my utility has yet to release incentives for PowerWalls, I am suddenly becoming lest interested. I would, however, be very happy to see real progress in Puerto Rico. After the way our government treated them, they deserve a break.

Production of Model 3 has never been announced to be 20k/week. 10k is the highest I have heard, although Elon postulated demand could be as high as 700k/year.

I would think they’re going to struggle to sell more then 250 – 300k a year. There are competition, gas cars are cheaper to buy, and there may be some kind of market saturation after a while.
When they have more models, they can sell more cars. People have different needs and so on. For real volume production, they have to come even more down in price, I think.

I’ve not included China in these numbers. . .

They will likely be around 300k, this year. They are thinking they will be making 1 million per year in 5 years (2023).

That would be weird. The car is far superior to BMW 3 series and cheaper to fuel and maintain. 3 series sells 400k/year.

20,000 per week in 2020 has been stipulated for Model 3 and Model Y combined.

Though considering that Model Y won’t start production before 2020, they certainly won’t reach that number before 2021…

Despite spending billions on the Gigafactory, Tesla is still at the mercy of it’s outsourced battery supplier. Some things never change.

“Some things never change.”
It’s true…just like you coming out of hibernation. It was quiet, you didn’t miss anything so go back to sleep.

Sorry, Mr. Serial Tesla Bashing FUDster, you missed it… completely.

Tesla is already producing more Model 3’s than any other BEV sold in the U.S., and it may double current output by the end of the year. The money Tesla invested in controlling its own battery supply has already been shown to be a sound investment.

And what kind of idiot would call Panasonic’s side of Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 “outsourcing”? Oh, yeah… the short-selling kind of idiot!

They most hold significant patents.

Panasonic lost their business of making transistors, tape-recorders, VCRs, Camcorders, TVs … Now the only good thing left are
Nickel battery for Toyota
Lithium battery for Tesla.

Hope they put all their focus on these 2 products and sell at the maximum to recover the revenues from the lost business.
There is whole lot batteries to be made and money to be earned.

It’s 5000 per month they are working toward not the 5000 per week noted in the article. Proofreading please.

No, it’s 5,000 per week.

I don’t think that we have enough information to really make a call either way but really I think Panasonic have done just fine. It really isn’t uncommon that during a production ramp up for one part of the plant to move faster than another. Reading between the lines it sounds like they switch production around a bit depending on what they need to produce. My understanding is that the storage batteries are a different chemistry to the car batteries but it is likely that lines can be switched to produce either cell type. So it might be that they make more powerwalls one month and then more cars the next. I would have thought that batteries were something that could be stored for a month or so anyway meaning that they probably have a bit of a buffer. Looking at the speed and stepped nature of the ramp up my feeling is that delays relate to the process on the line rather than a shortage of supply on one component. Especially since January. It really seems to me like they have been bringing lines on stream – there was pretty much nothing until January then it went to 2000… Read more »

Your interpretation of the info in this article is pretty close to mine, I think. Panasonic has been trying to ramp up cell production smoothly, while Tesla’s production has been going in fits and starts. It’s hard for Panasonic to match their production to such an erratic output from Tesla, and it’s understandable that Panasonic scaled back on how fast they were scaling up production, since they wound up stockpiling a lot of battery cells.

Now that Tesla seems to be back on track with ramping up TM3 production, hopefully Panasonic can accelerate its ramp up to match. But even if they can’t, Tesla is still going to be making far, far more Model 3’s than any other BEV sold in the U.S.!

Go Panasonic & Go Tesla!

Mark Kane, Per “as production of the Model 3 is expected to be at least four times higher (20,000 a week) than the 5,000 target for the end of June.” Tesla Never Announced any such goal of 20,000 per week! It was 5,000 per week for a 20,000 per month rate, by June 30th/July 1st!

By Year end of 2018, they (last year) stated a goal of 10,000 per week, but that has not been reiterated or updated, since January, 2018.

Hi guys,

A couple of mistakes in the numbers.

“The production rate of 5,000 Model 3 a month would require roughly 400 MWh of batteries every seven days”. Should read 5,000 a week.

Also, the final goal for Model 3 is not 20,000 but 10,000 a week (500k per year), which is “only” double the 5,000 a week. 🙂