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© mopic-_dreamstime.com General | February 27, 2014

Panasonic to invest $1 billion in Tesla's Gigafactory?

Panasonic is reportedly considering investing in electric vehicle company Tesla Motors, as the car manufacturer is planning to build a large scale battery factory.
Tesla plans to build a large scale factory that will allow the company to achieve economies of scale and minimize costs through; innovative manufacturing, reduction of logistics waste, optimization of co-located processes and reduced overhead.

The “Gigafactory” is designed to reduce cell costs faster than the status quo and, by 2020, produce more lithium ion batteries annually than were produced worldwide in 2013. “By the end of the first year of volume production of our mass market vehicle, we expect the Gigafactory will have driven down the per kWh cost of our battery pack by more than 30 percent. Here are some details about what the Gigafactory will look like,” Tesla writes on its company blog.

So where does Panasonic fit in to all this?

Well, Panasonic is reportedly interested in investing in the car makers planned battery plant, with a total investment of USD 979 million, according to a Reuters report, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The two companies have a multi-year collaboration history, and in October 2013 the two companies reached an agreement in which Panasonic will expand its supply of automotive-grade lithium-ion battery cells to Tesla.

The factory will be the first major US factory producing battery cells for electric cars. The factory is expected to go online in 2017, the report continues.

Tesla has denied to comment on the information. Panasonic however, said it would like to expand its cooperation with Telsa, but declined to go in to detail.

Panasonic's current supply contract with Tesla ends in 2017, and the company is said to be interested in investing in the Gigafactory, with the intention of expanding its battery supplies to Tesla as the contract ends, the report concludes.

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