© Tesla General | May 19, 2020
Panasonic, Tesla discuss beefing up Nevada battery plant
Panasonic Corporation this week said strong demand for battery cells from its U.S. partner, Tesla, has led to negotiations on the expansion of their joint plant in Storey County, Nevada.
A Reuters story cited production issues and other delays that have led to a strained relationship for the companies in the past few years, and this week’s upbeat news about the potential for a Nevada expansion comes on the heels of Tesla’s third consecutive quarterly profit, which the company announced last month. After recently losing its status as Tesla’s exclusive battery supplier, Panasonic has been able to improve the U.S. joint battery business as demand for Tesla’s electric cars have improved significantly. Regarding the expansion in Nevada, Panasonic CFO Hirokazu Umeda said during an earnings briefing on Monday, “We are seeing strong demand from Tesla, beyond the Nevada plant’s current capacity of 35 gigawatt hours per year. We are in discussions right now,” the Reuters story reported. Umeda also said on the call that the plant turned a profit in the first quarter of 2020, for its second consecutive quarter. Panasonic’s USD 1.6 billion investment in the Nevada factory began with the plant’s construction in 2014 and has since been unable to produce stable returns until the end of 2019, the joint factory’s first profitable quarter.