Japanese battery and electronic manufacturer Panasonic has confirmed it will build a third EV cell factory in the United States, according to Automotive News, citing Panasonic Energy’s CEO Kazuo Tadanobu, who spoke at the company’s annual business strategy meeting yesterday.
Currently, the Japanese electronics company operates a manufacturing facility along with Tesla at the EV maker’s Giga Nevada plant, and a second battery plant is being built in De Soto, Kansas, which will cost an estimated $4 billion when it’s all said and done.
Reports of a third Panasonic EV battery plant in the United States surfaced last year, when “people familiar with the matter” indicated that the site of the facility will be either in Kansas or Oklahoma.
Panasonic Batteries: 2170 cylindrical cells
The Japanese brand’s CEO didn’t give away the location just yet, saying that the site will be announced by March 2024 and that there are several candidates in mind. However, with Panasonic already building its second factory in Kansas, rumors are saying that the third facility will break ground in Oklahoma.
The reason behind another plant is the cell maker’s plan to massively ramp up production in the near future, quadrupling its manufacturing capacity and boosting the energy density of its battery by 25 percent by the end of the decade.
As per Automotive News, Panasonic’s lithium ion cells had an energy density of 800 watts per liter in 2022 and the plan is to increase it to 1,000 watts per liter in 2030. Improvements will be applied to the next generation of its 2170 cylindrical cell, as well as the upcoming 4680-type battery.
Regarding the third factory in the US, Tadanobu said that it will have a similar capacity to that of the Kansas site, or about 30 gigawatt-hours per year.
“In order to respond to quickly growing EV demand,” he said, “we will be increasing capacity.”
By 2031, Panasonic will expand its global battery production and procurement capacity to 200 GWh, up from 50 GWh in the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2023. As a result, the Japanese company’s CEO predicts revenue will also quadruple to about $17.9 billion (2.5 trillion yen) in the same period as EV sales take off.
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