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Panasonic and Tesla to Build “Gigafactory” in the U.S.

Japanese electronics behemoth Panasonic Corporation and Tesla Motors, Inc. (probably the world’s “hottest” electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer) are teaming up to create “Gigafactory.”

Gigafactory will be a large-scale battery manufacturing plant located in the United States, producing cells, modules, and packs for Tesla’s EVs as well as the stationary storage market.

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According to a press release, Tesla will manage the land, buildings, and utilities, while Panasonic will manufacture and supply cylindrical lithium-ion cells and invest in the associated equipment, machinery, and other manufacturing tools.

It’s still unclear which state will get the estimated US$5 billion plant, but all the chatter seems to put Nevada as the most likely recipient. The estimated 10 million sq. ft. production space will employ approximately 6,500 people, which would make Tesla one of the largest employers in the Nevada area.

The new plant will allow Tesla to reduce costs on transportation, storage, packaging, carrying, and duty taxes. Moreover, Tesla says further cost reductions “will be achieved through optimized manufacturing processes driven by economies of scale previously unobtainable in battery cell and pack production.”

Start of operations is (very ambitiously) planned for 2017, but without even the location finalized it remains to be seen if this date is even feasible. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, said recently that “ball is in the court of the governor and the state legislature (Nevada).”

Panasonic and Tesla have been working together for quite some time so this relationship is nothing really new. Panasonic is Tesla’s main battery research and developer, and back in 2010 Panasonic invested US$30 million in Tesla. Panasonic’s stated aim is to be the “number one green innovation company in the electronics industry by 2018,” and they have obviously zeroed in on Tesla to help them get there.

  • Gilfred

    The Tesla block is hot!