During the second quarter of 2022, Panasonic increased sales of its Energy division to 227.8 billion yen ($1.68 billion), which is up 21% year-over-year (5% in real terms, excluding the effect of exchange rates).
The company reports sales growth of automotive batteries, associated with robust EV demand, which offsets a decrease in other segments.
Specifically, the company increased the production of 2170-type cylindrical battery cells at the Tesla Gigafactory 1 in Nevada. However, there are also some negatives like raising costs (logistics due to disruptions, materials, as well as the development of new batteries).
The Japanese company has also slightly updated its 4680-type battery cell commercialization roadmap, which was revealed earlier this year.
The latest version includes the upcoming battery plant in Kansas, although this investment still requires the final decision, which depends on the pilot and series production results in Japan.
As we understand, Panasonic is preparing to build the new plant for 4680-type battery cells for Tesla, but first must achieve important milestones in terms of production viability and consistent quality.
Any mistake in such a project potentially could be very costly both financially, as well as in terms of reputation. Let’s remember that the company so far produced more than 10 billion battery cells for EVs without a single recall.
It’s not clear at this point what will be the exact specs of Panasonic’s 4680-type batteries. The cell might be externally the same as Tesla’s cell, but inside, the solution can vary, including battery chemistry, energy density, and specific solutions of how things are connected and how they are manufactured.
If several manufacturers produce 4680-type cells (Tesla, Panasonic, LG Energy Solution and Samsung SDI), the technology of each product might be slightly different. Customers probably will not see the difference on the car, at least not without some measures and comparison, but on the industry level, it will probably be healthy competition between suppliers.