Reports from Nikkei Asia say Panasonic will mass produce Tesla’s next-gen lithium-ion batteries sometime in 2023. The new batteries will reportedly offer five times the energy capacity of its current generation.
The new development would improve Tesla’s vehicle range and ultimately prove Electric vehicles are a viable option. The test production of these batteries will start in March 2022, the timeline Panasonic gave to the Wall Street Journal.
In order for this to happen, Panasonic seems to be expanding its Wakayama, Japan plant to mass-produce these next-gen batteries. Nikkei says that the higher capacity batteries the “4680 battery cells” could increase the range of electric cars by 20 percent.
Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk earlier said during its battery event in September 2020 that these cells are six times more powerful than its current batteries. There is also cost reductions as they cost 14% per kWh to produce.
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While the battery event seems to gear the company towards producing its in-house batteries, recent tweets from Musk say otherwise. “We intend to increase, not reduce battery cell purchases from Panasonic, LG & CATL,” he tweeted before the event.
Despite plans to mass-produce these batteries in the year 2022, the 4680 cells are far from high-volume production. The Wall Street Journal cites Musk saying that prototype production is easy, but high-volume production is hard,” maybe in 2023.
Panasonic did not confirm Nikkei’s report, in a statement to Reuters the company gave this verdict. “We are studying various options for mass production, including a test production line we are establishing this business year,” the battery giant said. “We don’t, however, have anything to announce at this time.”
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