Panasonic, Tesla to build big US battery plant

Jul 31, 2014 by Yuri Kageyama

(AP)—American electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. is teaming up with Japanese electronics company Panasonic Corp. to build a battery manufacturing plant in the U.S. expected to create 6,500 jobs.

The companies announced the deal Thursday, but they did not say where in the U.S. the so-called "gigafactory," or large-scale plant, will be built. Financial terms weren't disclosed for the $5 billion plant.

The plant will produce cells, modules and packs for Tesla's electric vehicles and for the stationary energy storage market, employing 6,500 people by 2020.

Under the agreement, Tesla, based in Palo Alto, California, will prepare, provide and manage the land and buildings, while Osaka-based Panasonic will manufacture and supply the lithium-ion battery cells and invest in equipment.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said the factory will help Tesla reduce its battery costs by 30 percent. Tesla needs cheaper batteries in order to produce its mass-market Model 3, an electric car it's developing that would cost around $30,000. Tesla hopes to have the Model 3 on the road by 2017. The company's only current vehicle, the Model S sedan, starts at $70,000.

"The Gigafactory represents a fundamental change in the way large-scale battery production can be realized," said Tesla Chief Technical Officer and co-founder JB Straubel, referring to the cost reductions.

Sales of zero-emission electric vehicles account for less than 1 percent of the global auto market. But worries about global warming and more stringent emissions regulations in many countries are expected to boost sales of electric and other green vehicles.

Yoshihiko Yamada, executive vice president of Panasonic, said the planned factory will help the electric vehicle market grow.

Panasonic, which has ceded much of its strength in consumer electronics to competitors, is putting more focus on businesses that serve other industries, including batteries.

It remains powerful in Japan and some overseas markets in consumer products such as refrigerators, washing machines and batteries for gadgets.

Explore further: Tesla unveils 'Gigafactory' to ramp up mass-market car

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The race is on to power the next generation of electric cars

Jul 16, 2014

A major shift from gasoline-powered to affordable electric vehicles feels tantalizingly close, but the battery technology that could make it happen still needs to catch up to its own hype. Although luxury-car maker Tesla ...

California back in running for Tesla battery plant

May 08, 2014

California is back in the running for a massive battery plant that electric car maker Tesla Motors plans to start building this year, but CEO Elon Musk said the state remains in the "improbable" category ...

Panasonic invests $30M in electric car maker Tesla

Nov 04, 2010

(AP) -- Panasonic Corp. is investing $30 million in Tesla Motors Inc., the U.S. maker of electric sports cars, eyeing expansion in the global market for green vehicles, both sides said Thursday.

Recommended for you

Peugeot hybrid compressed-air car set for Paris Motor Show

3 hours ago

An 860-kilogram concept city car from Peugeot indicates impressive fuel economy. This latest concept "has its sights set on meeting the French government's goal of putting an affordable 2.0l/100km (141mpg) car into production by 2020," said Jordan Bis ...

Apps for electric cars

8 hours ago

Siemens is equipping electric cars with completely redesigned information and communications technology (ICT). Basically, the idea is to control a variety of vehicle functions on a uniform, centralized computer ...

User comments : 0