Panasonic To Build $412 Million Lithium-Ion Battery Factory In China

Tesla Panasonic Show stand

JAN 7 2016 BY MARK KANE 12

Panasonic lithium-ion battery cells

Panasonic lithium-ion battery cells

Nikkei reports that Panasonic intends to build an automotive lithium-ion battery plant in China, as a joint venture with a Chinese partner – as one needs to do (regulation/tax hurdles) to be successful in the country.

An investment of 50 billion yen ($412 million) in the northeastern city of Dalian, Liaoning Province should result in a completed factory by 2017.

The Nikkei article states that the site will make rectangular-shaped batteries for all-electric and plug-in hybrids, which we assume means more traditional automotive pouch configurations (most 2nd generation cells are switching to even a longer/thinner rectangular configuration than the originals…as they are easier to work with when packaging battery packs), a bit of a change from what the company provides Tesla today (cylindrical 18650 format).  There is no energy capacity info, but the projection assumes battery sets for 200,000 cars.

Panasonic already has a lithium-ion battery facility in China for electronics, and automotive batteries would be the next logical step.

Nikkei said that Panasonic holds 45.7% of the automotive lithium-ion battery market today.

Source: Nikkei

Categories: General


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12 Comments on "Panasonic To Build $412 Million Lithium-Ion Battery Factory In China"

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I look forward to a kWh less than $100 soon. They will have the factory by 2017 they say.

It sucks that China requires foreign companies to form 50/50 joint ventures with Chinese companies in order to build an automotive battery plant in China, just as they do with automobile factories. There goes half of Panasonic’s profits, and probably its proprietary technology/trade-secrets, right out the window.

Yes but this is the place those batteries will be the most needed, no choice.

I assume Panasonic invest together with a JV partner to enhance his marketability and access to the local producer rather than that they have to.
Johnson Controls is doing the same in partnering with one of the big OEM supplier holdings.

Speaking of Batteries, Al Jazeera has an excellent 25 minute interview about Impulse 2 and solar technology and battery storage.

At one point in the interview the interviewer said that renewable energy is 2 to 5 times more expensive than fossil fuel energy. The reply was that subsidies are never calculated in the cost of fossil fuel production. The IMF calculated that fossil fuel production gets about 5 trillion dollars in subsidies each year.

What is interesting is that this article mentions that this factory will make “rectangular shaped batteries for all-electric and plug-in hybrids”. No cylindrical cells then. Would the low cost li-ion cell of the future be a flat (pouch) one with only the high performances EV’s retaining the cylindrical ones ? (better cooling). Maybe Model 3 should have pouch cells after all.

If Tesla plans to keep making cars with very fast acceleration and relatively high top speed, then it may be a good strategy for them to stick with cylindrical cells, for the superior heat dissipation properties.

Other auto makers may be able to get away with using more tightly packed block-shaped* cells, if they don’t need to worry as much about rapid heat dissipation, because their cars don’t accelerate as fast and have a lower top speed.

Or maybe Tesla is just sticking with the cylindrical shape because it’s more economical to produce just one single type of cell in Gigafactory 1, rather than multiple form factors.

At any rate, I think it’s much too early in the EV revolution to say if there is any one battery form factor that is “best” for all EVs. Different battery chemistries are best for different applications, and the same may be true of different form factors.

*Last time I looked, a rectangle was a two-dimensional shape, not a three dimensional one.

“hen it may be a good strategy for them to stick with cylindrical cells, for the superior heat dissipation properties.”


Which one is thinner? The thin rectangular cells or 18650 cells?

The thin ones will have more cooling surface.

I think we have gone over this before, let us NOT go over thermal dynamics and heat transfers again, OK?

I’m confused, is this the Primearth (Panasonic/Toyota joint venture) Chinese factory that was announced earlier, or an additional one? Either way it’s probably not Tesla related, but for Toyota/Ranz.

Great. Panasonic is not going to depend on Tesla alone, they will start selling to many Chinese EV makers.

Flat batteries use the space more efficiently and this will leave more space in cars for passenger / baggage use.

Even in cell phone and cameras, we use only flat battery.

With Tesla and Panasonic building their battery factories, it is probably a good time to start investing in the lithium producers, since there is already a shortage of it and the price is in the all time highs. The only lithium mines currently operating and producing with high enough volume are Tallison and Mt Cattlin in Australia. The ones in South America are currently on hold due to legal problems and corruption scandals, while the ones in North America are miniscule in comparison.