Here’s The Story Of Tesla’s Partnership With Panasonic

Tesla Panasonic Show stand

APR 27 2018 BY EVANNEX 13


Tesla’s battery partner and long-time supporter, Panasonic, just turned 100 years old. Entrepreneur’s Lydia Belanger reports that throughout the last century, “Panasonic has pivoted regularly, expanded globally and today continues to look toward the future of technology, including teaming up with Tesla.” Panasonic’s financial investments in Tesla aren’t the only support it provides — its rich history is full of lessons that Tesla can learn from in order to successfully grow.

RELATED: Panasonic Hints At New Battery Factory For Tesla In China

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Matt Pressman. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

Back in 1918, a young 23-year-old, Konosuke Matsushita, founded the company now known as Panasonic. His design for a new kind of light socket launched the new Japanese business. And early on, “Matsushita was ahead of his time as far as his management approach. When the company was 2 years old and had 28 employees, he formed what he called the ‘Hoichi Kai,’ which translates to ‘one-step society.’ It brought employees together to play sports and participate in other recreational activities.”

Black Panasonic Tesla Model S company car

Panasonic’s official company car, a Tesla Model S, is proudly showcased at their North American headquarters (Image: Industry Week)

Matsushita also had a penchant for generosity and transparency. Belanger reports, “Matsushita’s philosophy was one of trust, and he decided to share trade secrets even with new employees to build trust at all levels of the organization. By the end of 1922, the company had 50 employees and a new factory.”

Matsushita also got the company through tough times with aplomb. Instead of firing workers when inventory piled up, Matsushita said, “We’ll halve production not by laying off workers, but [by] having them work only half days. We will continue to pay the same wages they are getting now, but there will be no holidays. All employees should do their best to sell inventory.” And the plan worked.

Above: The fascinating story of Panasonic’s iconic founder, Konosuke Matsushita (Youtube: Channel Panasonic – Official)

Matsushita was viewed as egalitarian. During the Great Depression, he said, “The mission of a manufacturer is to create material abundance by providing goods as plentiful and inexpensive as tap water.” And he planned far into the future as a “long-term visionary… [Matsushita] proposed a 250-year plan for the company, divided into 10 25-year periods that would be further divided into a 10-year construction phase, a 10-year active phase, and a five-year fulfillment phase.”

In addition to light sockets, Panasonic offered an ever-growing, eclectic mix of products over the years. In 1934, “Panasonic produced its first electric motor… [then] from 1945 through 1959, Panasonic began producing agitator washing machines, monochrome TVs, refrigerators, radios, rice cookers, tape recorders and home air conditioners. The company also began expanding globally in the 1950s.”

Konosuke Matsushita passed away on April 27th, 1989, at the age of 94, but his legacy lives on. In the 1980s, “the company expanded its personal electronics offerings … Fast-forward to the digital era, which has pushed Panasonic to pivot further, including ceasing production of analog TVs back in 2006. In 2008, the company finally changed its name from Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. to Panasonic Corporation — Panasonic had been one of its many brands.”

Panasonic's founder, Konosuke Matsushita

Panasonic’s founder, Konosuke Matsushita (Image: Entrepreneur via Panasonic)

More recently, “Panasonic divided itself into four companies based on its four primary business divisions: appliances, eco solutions, AVC networks and automotive and industrial systems.” And in the past few years, “Panasonic announced it would invest more than a [billion] in Tesla Motors’ planned Gigafactory battery plant. It supplies the batteries for Tesla models S, X and 3.” And Panasonic is also a partner at Gigafactory 2 manufacturing Tesla’s solar products.

Panasonic has come a long way in the last 100 years, growing to become “a global leader with over 240,000 employees, with sales of more than $70 billion dollars a year.” Its future plans include a 10-year vision to embrace a wide variety of emerging technologies, from the Internet of Things (IoT) to robotics. And with its Gigafactory partner, Tesla, the company is poised for further breakthroughs in the automotive and energy sectors.


Source: Entrepreneur

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX, Check out the site here.

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13 Comments on "Here’s The Story Of Tesla’s Partnership With Panasonic"

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About 5 years ago Tesla and Panasonic had signed a contract for about 2 billion 18650 battery cells.

When will Panasonic have delivered the last shipment of 18650 battery cells (produced in Japan) to Tesla?

In 2019?

About 7 000 cells per car and those 2 billion cells translates into around 285k cars. And now they have made about 310k Model S+X (Model 3 being on the 2170 cell).

That is not even counting stationary energy storage products.

This seems to be a lot more a history of Panasonic, not a story of Tesla and Panasonic.

It also seems to be a lot more a story by “Entrepreneur”, not a story by Evanex too….

The video was a good watch about an amazing man and his company, Congratulations on hitting 100 years Panasonic.

Having repaired Panasonic, National radios, stereos, TVs since the 60s they were always one of the better Asian companies in quality, especially for the price. Since transistors were so new, different voltages than tubes, I had to make parts from scratch to repair them at times. They didn’t mention they were heading to bankruptcy a decade ago when the Tesla orders pulled them back from the brink which Tesla took advantage of giving out very low profit contracts. Tesla really held them over a barrel forcing them to install $1.7B worth of equipment up front to get the contract. And Panasonic now is just a job shop to Tesla, assembling Tesla cells.. Tesla has had to drag Panasonic to ramp up as Panasonic, others didn’t believe there was that good a market. So Tesla bought their supplies for the next 5 yrs at bargain prices and then sold out of PowerPacks and walls in 5 days, eating u the pile of cells Tesla had. Then Tesla got 400k model 3 orders in 2 wks and battery material prices doubled!! Musk warned them but none of them would listen and Tesla got a 15-20% price advantage for 5 yrs. What Panasonic… Read more »

Nobody not even Elon Musk expected 400k model 3 reservations in 2 weeks.

Yeap skip WW2 when they made weapons to kill us

By that measure you’d eliminate quite a few companies that we routinely do business with now. They lost and we all moved on; can’t you?

Most well-established major car companies have some prior history of building things to kill people deep in their history. What’s your point?

If you’re making a veiled reference to Tesla’s AutoPilot, it’s NOT funny! 😡

By that logic can American indians blame all white Europeans for genocide?

The title is promising, the delivery less so.

Most of the article is irrelevant, useless talk about Panasonic 100, 50 or other years ago (which should in fact be more accurately listed as Matsushita, since Panasonic is the name of the company only since a few years, a fact interestingly not mentioned…).

The part tied to Panasonic / Tesla (which is the only useful topic) is pretty limited, and includes only things people know / can easily find on Internet. It does not answer or even ask any value-added questions, such as why Tesl has selected Panasonic, why has Panasonic accepted, what is exactly the contract between the two, how are costs / R&D / risks shared, etc.