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Panasonic Plans Major Advancements in EV Battery Technology in 2024

by Rahil M
0 comment

Panasonic’s sustained commitment to EV batteries aligns with the global momentum to phase out fossil fuels and transition to cleaner, carbon-neutral energy sources.

Panasonic Holdings Corp. is gearing up to launch an upgraded version of its electric vehicle battery cells, boasting enhanced capacity, as early as this year, according to Shoichiro Watanabe, the Chief Technology Officer for EV batteries. The new iteration, a revamped version of the 2170 cells, is slated to commence production at Panasonic’s Nevada manufacturing plant sometime in 2024 or 2025.

The Osaka-based electronics manufacturer aims to quadruple its production capacity by the fiscal year 2030. Watanabe expressed confidence that this ambitious target can be achieved without necessarily constructing a new factory or making substantial investments. The focus lies on elevating the energy density of the 2170 cell, a move that could potentially reduce the overall cost of electric vehicles.

“We will expand battery capacity and improve productivity at the same time,” stated Watanabe, underlining Panasonic’s commitment to advancing both the technological and production aspects of EV batteries.

Panasonic’s strategic vision encompasses North America, where the company plans to enhance and broaden production capacities. The overarching goal is to supply a staggering 200-gigawatt hours of energy in electric vehicle batteries. In parallel, Panasonic is actively developing another battery variant, the 4680 cell, characterized by increased thickness and volume.

The plan to increase manufacturing capacity by 10% by the fiscal year 2025 does not necessitate the addition of new production lines or substantial additional investments, according to Watanabe. Importantly, decisions regarding the production timeline of the next-generation EV batteries at the Nevada plant, a joint venture with Tesla Inc., will be collaborative and not unilateral.

Panasonic’s sustained commitment to EV batteries aligns with the global momentum to phase out fossil fuels and transition to cleaner, carbon-neutral energy sources. The company is investing heavily in battery development to remain at the forefront of this transformative shift.

Currently constructing its second battery plant in North America, located in Kansas, Panasonic is set to unveil the location of a third plant by the end of the fiscal year ending March. The company has a bold commitment to elevate its battery production capacity to 200-gigawatt hours by the fiscal year 2030, a substantial increase from the current limit of 50 gigawatt hours.

While Watanabe refrained from commenting on the future location of the upcoming plant, he emphasized that running the new facility “will require thousands of employees.” In December, Panasonic rejected nearly $700 million in state incentives offered for building a manufacturing site in Oklahoma.

Earlier that same month, Panasonic announced a strategic agreement to acquire nano-composite silicon anode material from Sila Nanotechnologies Inc., strengthening its battery supply chain in North America.

The decision-making process regarding the location of new facilities is complex and involves a multitude of factors, according to a Panasonic spokesperson. However, this decision is not anticipated to impact operations in Nevada or Kansas.

In a favourable turn for Panasonic, the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act provides subsidies for battery cells made in the U.S., offering a competitive advantage to global brands like Panasonic. The company forecasts a ¥85 billion ($587 million) boost in operating income during the fiscal year ending March 2024.

Japan, keen on fostering a robust domestic market, pledged in 2022 to increase annual lithium-ion battery production capacity to 150 gigawatt hours by 2030. Although Panasonic doesn’t manufacture cars, it stands as Japan’s top battery maker and a major supplier for Subaru., Mazda Motor Corp., and Tesla.

Watanabe acknowledged Japan’s efforts to boost domestic production, stating, “if possible, making them ourselves would be ideal.” This underlines the intricate interplay between global and domestic strategies in Panasonic’s overarching vision for advancing EV battery technology.

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