Japanese electronics manufacturer Panasonic will become Tesla Motors’ partner in the Gigafactory project, aiming to revolutionise production of long endurance lithium ion battery packs.
The agreement between the two companies will see Tesla securing the land, building facilities and managing the site, while Panasonic will be supplying cylindrical lithium-ion cells and associated equipment, machinery, and other manufacturing tools.
Tesla plans to build the Gigafactory in the USA within a reasonable distance from its main facilities in California, where it assembles its acclaimed Model S cars.
“The Gigafactory represents a fundamental change in the way large scale battery production can be realized,” said JB Straubel, Chief Technical Officer and Co-founder of Tesla Motors.
“Not only does the Gigafactory enable capacity needed for the Model 3 but it sets the path for a dramatic reduction in the cost of energy storage across a broad range of applications.”
Tesla foresees to engage a wide range of suppliers delivering precursor materials needed to build components for assembly of battery packs and modules. The electric car manufacturer hopes the Gigafactory project would allow optimising manufacturing processes by employing economies of scale previously unobtainable in battery cell production. As a result, the company hopes, the cost of electric vehicles will decrease making the technology accessible to wider public.
“We have already engaged in various collaborative projects with Tesla toward the popularisation of electric vehicles,” said Yoshihiko Yamada, Executive Vice President of Panasonic. “Panasonic’s lithium-ion battery cells combine the required features for electric vehicles such as high capacity, durability and cost performance. And I believe that once we are able to manufacture lithium-ion battery cells at the Gigafactory, we will be able to accelerate the expansion of the electric vehicle market.”
Tesla foresees the Gigafactory could produce 35GWh of cells and 50GWh of packs per year by 2020 and create 6,500 new jobs.