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Tesla suppliers show off more powerful batteries

Tokyo-

Tesla Ltd

TSLA 1.75%

supplier

Panasonic Ltd

PCRFY 3.09%

He said that a large lithium-ion battery almost solved the technical problem.

Elon Musk

Called the lowest cost way to power an electric vehicle.

Panasonic unveiled its first 4680 cylindrical battery on Monday, named for its 46mm diameter and 80mm height. This is larger than the previous battery cells that Panasonic supplied to Tesla.

Mr. Musk, Tesla’s CEO, Selling 4680 Since the battery event held in September 2020. In July of this year, he said: “From a physics point of view, this is the best architecture and from an economic point of view, it’s the cheapest way.”

Panasonic executive Kazuo Tadanobu will showcase Panasonic’s new 4680 battery (left). This is a bigger right than the battery currently used in Tesla cars.


Photo:

Peter Landers / Wall Street Journal

Tesla said in October’s earnings announcement that it expects vehicles with a battery pack of 4680 cells to be delivered next year.

Mr. Musk said that putting more energy capacity into each battery cell, along with other improvements, should help EVs boost their power and run longer on a single charge. .. Related technology built into the 4680 battery cell allows for faster charging.

But Musk also said that large-scale production of new batteries is a challenge that Tesla and its partners have not completely overcome. “Prototyping is easy, but mass production is difficult,” he said in July.

Kazuo Tadanobu, head of Panasonic’s battery unit, said his company saw light at the end of the tunnel and was moving beyond the prototype.

“We now have the technology under our belt, and we are quickly preparing for commercialization,” he said.

Tadanobu said Panasonic plans to start test production of 4680 battery cells in Japan by March 2022. He described the product as being made to Tesla’s requirements and said Panasonic would supply it to US companies, but did not provide details.

Panasonic has been supplying batteries to Tesla vehicles for over a decade, and the two companies jointly operate what Tesla calls the Gigafactory in Nevada. After years of loss, Panasonic said the unit that supplies Tesla is now profitable.

Panasonic, once the exclusive supplier of Tesla’s batteries, lost its position when Mr. Musk added other suppliers, including Hyundai Amperex Technology of China and CATL.

When Tesla relocates its headquarters to Austin, Texas, CEO Elon Musk said he is comparing the current crowded operations at his factory in Fremont, California to “spam in cans.” He said electric car makers will continue to grow in California. Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images

Tadanobu said Tesla is ready to buy everything Panasonic can manufacture and isn’t worried about losing its business as demand for EVs grows.

“Tesla’s expectations for shipments from its North American factories are very strong,” he said.

After the recent expansion, Panasonic’s annual battery capacity in North America has increased from 35 gigawatt hours in the year ended March 2021 to 38-39 gigawatt hours, the company said. This is enough to supply batteries to more than 400,000 Tesla Model S vehicles.

Write in Peter Landers peter.landers@wsj.com And Yang Jie jie.yang@wsj.com

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Tesla suppliers show off more powerful batteries

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