Panasonic to Start Producing Tesla’s Next-Gen Batteries in 2023

Tesla’s 4680 next-generation battery cell concept is closer than ever to coming to fruition, with a recent update showing one of the automaker’s partners preparing to begin supplying new electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

Panasonic plans to begin mass-producing Tesla’s next-generation 4680 lithium-ion batteries by 2023, which are expected to increase the range of EVs by as much as 15 percent, according to Nikkei.

The Japanese electronics manufacturer expects the increased range offered by the 4680 batteries to accelerate the world’s transition to EVs.

While Tesla’s Model S currently features around 650 km (404 miles) of range, an update with the 4680 battery would bring that range to about 750 km (466 miles).

In addition to their performance benefits, the new 4680 battery is also expected to cost around 10 to 20 percent less to produce.

Panasonic is currently expanding its Wakayama, Japan production facility, and is expected to begin operating the factory at a reduced capacity this year. The company is investing $704 million USD for the expansion and the Wakayama factory is said to be able to produce enough capacity for 150,000 EVs per year, roughly 20% of the company’s production capacity.

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Last year, Panasonic revealed its 4680 battery prototype for Tesla, emphasizing that the supply relationship with the U.S. automaker was not exclusive and could be replicated with other EV manufacturers.

Other companies that completed 4680 samples for Tesla last year include Samsung and LG, both of which hope to strike a similar supply deal with Tesla to Pansonic.