Electric carmaker Tesla has announced an expanded agreement with partner Panasonic on the supply of battery cells and further development.
Reports this week have also pointed to a joint venture in Tesla’s planned ‘Gigafactory’ battery plant in the US, although the two companies have yet to confirm plans on that side of the partnership.
For now, Tesla has confirmed that its existing battery cell supply deal with the Japanese technology giant has been expanded to accommodate increased production of the Model S sedan and the introduction of the new Model X SUV.
“This expanded agreement with Panasonic is important to Tesla as we continue to increase the pace of production,” Tesla Co-Founder and CEO Elon Musk said.
“We look forward to strengthening our relationship with Panasonic, and I’m confident that this partnership will continue to be an integral part of Tesla’s success for years to come.”
Yoshihiko Yamada, president of Panasonic subsidiary Automotive & Industrial Systems Company, said: “Panasonic will increase its production capacity of lithium-ion battery cells to supply Tesla’s growing needs as it expands its production of EVs.”
Tesla’s current battery technology was developed together with Panasonic, utilising a cylindrical cell design that the companies claim results in the highest energy density and best performance battery cells in the electric vehicle market.
“Panasonic’s cells combined with Tesla’s proven EV battery expertise have already enabled more than 130 million customer miles driven in Tesla Roadsters and Model S,” the company says.
The battery cell supply deal will tie in with Tesla’s planned US$5 billion Gigafactory facility, which the carmaker hopes will reduce the cost of battery production by around 30 percent.
According to business paper Nikkei, Tesla’s agreement with Panasonic will soon see the Japanese company fit out the Gigafactory facility with its own battery production systems, at a cost of around AU$208-$312 million.
For now, Tesla says it is still in the planning stage for the new battery plant, with sites in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas under consideration.
Note: Tesla's Model S sedan has been confirmed for an Australian launch and customer models are arriving over the coming weeks.
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