Panasonic Opens Electric Car Battery Factory In China

Panasonic Tesla

APR 28 2017 BY MARK KANE 4

Panasonic has opened a new automotive lithium-ion battery factory in Dalian, China, specifically geared for eco-friendly vehicle applications, which includes plug-ins (New Energy Vehicles – all-electric and plug-in hybrid), as well as some production of cells for traditional hybrids.

Panasonic lithium-ion battery cells

It’s Panasonic’s first automotive li-ion factory in China (they do have facilities for consumer electronics) and another step in its global expansion.

Panasonic recently expanded its production capacity in Japan, and of course has established a huge production facility with Tesla in the U.S. with the Gigafactory.

It is interesting to note that at this upcoming Chinese battery cell plant, prismatic cells (as with Tesla) are being made, which are not the industry standard for plug-in vehicles.  Panasonic did not note which customers specifically would be receiving product from the new factory.

“With an increasing awareness of environmental issues, the market for eco-friendly vehicles is expanding every year, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric vehicles. Panasonic has provided automotive lithium-ion batteries to a number of auto manufacturers on a global basis and is leading the automotive battery market.

Furthermore, in response to further increase in the demand of high-performance automotive lithium-ion batteries, Panasonic not only increased production at Japanese sites but will also start automotive battery cell production in the United States in 2017. The newly constructed factory in China is a new production facility of Panasonic Automotive Energy Dalian Co., Ltd., an automotive battery joint venture established between Panasonic and Dalian Levear Electric Co., Ltd. in February 2016.

Panasonic is aiming to achieve 2 trillion yen in sales for the overall automotive business, including infotainment systems and industrial devices, in the fiscal year 2019 (ending March 31, 2019) which marks the 100th anniversary of the company’s founding. Panasonic will develop the new factory into a core manufacturing site in China, and further strengthen its automotive battery business.”

Overview of the new factory]
Site area:Approx. 170,000 m2
Floor area:Approx. 80,000 m2
Production items:Prismatic type lithium-ion batteries for eco-friendly vehicles
Production launch:Fiscal 2018, ending March 31, 2018
[Overview of the joint venture company (as of April 2017)]
Name:Panasonic Automotive Energy Dalian Co., Ltd.
Location:177 Haiming Street, Dalian Free Trade Zone, Liaoning, People’s Republic of China
Establishment:February 2016
Capital:273 million RMB
Representatives:Chairman: Guochen Liu, Managing Director: Nobukazu Yamanishi
Business operations:Design, manufacture, sales, and after-sales services of automotive batteries for eco-friendly vehicles.
Employees:Approx. 500 (FY2018 plan)

Categories: Battery Tech, General


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4 Comments on "Panasonic Opens Electric Car Battery Factory In China"

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Since Panasonic shut down it’s lithium battery factory in Beijing in 2015 and laid off 1,300 workers, perhaps those people will now move to this area and work in this new factory in Dalian.

The former factory was a SANYO Electronics factory that made small lithium batteries for personal electronics. Panasonic bought out SANYO in 2015 and took over the plant. The reason for closing the plant was less demand and high competition from other Chinese and S. Korean battery manufacturers.

This article in the Global Times says that Panasonic was considering reconfiguring the plant to build cylindrical automotive batteries, but admits those changes would be extensive.

It appears Panasonic decided to build this whole new factory instead.

Great news whenever a new lithium auto battery plant is built. Hopefully, China can improve it’s air quality and keep pushing hard to make New Energy Vehicles the mainstream automobiles in the country and beyond.

This article in the Global Times —

Yes, its very important that a company like Panasonic builds more such plants to make batteries as more Electric, Plugin & Hybrid vehicles come to the market.

Gone were the days when Panasonic made VCR, Audit Cassette Recorder, Music systems and made money. Now they can put all their money in batteries.

The prismatic battery cells being built at the China plant are not the same as the cylindrical cells that Panasonic builds for Tesla.

Prismatic batteries are the rectangular ones in the picture above, and they are widely used in the auto industry outside of Tesla.

Tesla is unique in using the cylindrical cells, similar to oversize laptop batteries or oversize AA size. Tesla’s approach built on the pioneering work of AC Electric, who first assembled a pack out of thousands of cylindrical commodity li-ion batteries for their AC Zero sports car … the cheap price of the commodity cylindrical cells outweighing the complexity of wiring them all together.

After Tesla took the concept to mass production with the Roadster, they worked with Panasonic to design a cylindrical cell with more safety features built in for the Model S, then further evolved it to the new larger 2170 cylindrical cells that will be used in the Model 3.