Although the news broke earlier this week, we now have official confirmation from both Panasonic and Tesla that the two corporations are joining efforts to build a new large-scale battery production center.
While quite detailed, the distilled version has Tesla looking after everything involved with the physical building and maintenance, while Panasonic supplies bits inside the building, like machinery, and tools, and will be the one doing the actual building of the lithium-ion battery cells. Those cells, along with other “precursor materials” will then be used by Tesla to assemble the battery packs.
“We have already engaged in various collaborative projects with Tesla towards the popularization of electric vehicles,” said Yoshihiko Yamada, executive vice president of Panasonic, adding that the company’s cells were well suited to electric-vehicle use. “…We will be able to accelerate the expansion of the electrical vehicle market.”
During the construction period, which could extend five or six years, Tesla will obviously continue to purchase Panasonic cells made in Japan to maintain an uninterrupted supply while battery-pack demand increases.
“Not only does the Gigafactory enable capacity needed for the Model 3 but it sets the path for a dramatic reduction in the cost of energy storage across a broad range of applications, said JB Straubel, CTO and co-founder of Tesla Motors.
While much of the talk has been around this upcoming Gigafactory as a be-all-end-all solution, back in April, Elon Musk started suggesting that there would have to be more than one, meaning making at least two winners in the five-state runoff for factory locations.
A guest post on Transport Evolved from local journalist Bob Tregilus swears that work had already started at a location around Reno, and that the details of the site size, the amount of rubble to be hauled away and more line up perfectly with Tesla. And all the people Tregilus is able to speak with all have to work under confidentiality agreements, so the local on-site claims have to be taken with a grain of salt. But according to a follow-up post, the work has apparently stopped as of July 25, with unconfirmed rumors that the original contractor didn’t hit any of the major milestones, which put the project on hold indefinitely.
We’ll follow up if anything newsworthy breaks.