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Tsuga’s statements were expressed in an interview with newswitch.jp, where the Panasonic President discussed several aspects of the tech conglomerate’s initiatives, from its solar cell business to its television division. Most interestingly, Tsuga discussed Panasonic’s ongoing plans with Tesla amidst the electric car maker’s transition to its new, larger, and more affordable 4680 cells.
The Panasonic President noted that the development of the 4680 cells for Tesla are already underway, though he did note that some challenges remain with regards to the production ramp of the batteries themselves due to their high capacity. Yet despite this, Tsuga highlighted that Panasonic is not concerned about Tesla becoming a rival in the future.
“We have begun development of a new automotive battery, the 4680, for Tesla in the United States. The electrode structure is difficult because of its high capacity. The electrode structure is difficult because of its large capacity. We will make prototypes in Japan and establish a manufacturing method. High reliability is one of our strengths. There is no concern that Tesla will become a competitor (although Tesla is promoting in-house production of the battery),” Tsuga said.
Panasonic has been a longtime partner for Tesla’s initiatives, with the Japanese tech conglomerate being heavily involved with the buildout and ramp of Gigafactory Nevada, an expansive facility where the electric car maker’s current 2170 cells are being produced. While Tesla has since established battery supply deals with South Korean firm LG and China-based CATL, Panasonic seems poised to continue its deep ties to the electric car maker.
This was highlighted recently, with a Form 8-K submitted to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission revealing that Tesla and Panasonic have entered into a 2021 pricing agreement for battery cells that are manufactured in Japan, which are typically used for the Model S and Model X. Tesla halted the production of the flagship sedan and SUV at the Fremont factory last month, fueling speculation that some notable updates for the two vehicles are underway.