Tech firm Panasonic is likely to club hands with Tesla Motors’ for a Gigafactory project, said automaker’s CEO Elon Musk.
Reports say Panasonic has agreed to gradually invest into Tesla’s Gigafactory lithium-ion battery plant. However, the size and exact timing of the investment is still not clear.
It is noteworthy, Panasonic already provides batteries for Tesla cars.
Meanwhile, the market is abuzz with reports that Panasonic is likely to invest around 20 to 30 billion yen (USD 200-300 million) initially and will be paying a total of about USD 1 billion in total.
According to the deal, while Panasonic will be manufacturing and supplying cylindrical lithium-ion cells, Tesla will prepare, manage and provide the land, buildings and utilities to the tech company.
Panasonic will also invest in the equipment, machinery and other manufacturing tools. Tesla, on the other hand, will invest approx USD 2 billion in the plant through 2020. The investors’ share would be USD 2-3 billion for the total USD 4-5 billion investment.
Hideaki Kawai, Chief Financial Officer of Panasonic, said, “Given the high degree of interest in the factory in both Japan and the United States, we wanted to show our intent by signing an agreement as soon as possible. But a decision on investment will take a little longer.”
“Tesla is a very important partner to us and discussions are continuing,” Kawai said while adding, “We need to look very carefully at auto demand and respond appropriately so of course that means taking a step-by-step approach to investment.”
The Gigafactory project aims to create electric vehicle batteries on a large scale, eyeing to provide batteries at affordable rates, hence making the EV cheap and easily available. Panasonic aims to produce 35 GWh of cells and 50 GWh of battery packs per year.
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