panasonic plans another $4 billion u.s. ev battery plant

Kazuo Tadanobu, CEO of Panasonic Energy, holds a prototype of the 4680 format battery cell (left) next to the current 2170 battery supplied to Tesla. (Reuters, 2021)

Panasonic Holdings Corp, a supplier to electric-car maker Tesla, is in talks to build an additional electric vehicle battery plant in the United States at a cost of around $4 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Panasonic is looking at Oklahoma as the location for its new plant, the newspaper said (subscription required).

In July, Panasonic selected Kansas over Oklahoma as the site for a new battery plant that state officials said would create up to 4,000 jobs with investment of up to $4 billion.

The Japanese conglomerate also said it was looking at potential factory sites in Kansas and Oklahoma to supply the batteries to Tesla’s plant in Texas.

The Japanese company has partnered with Tesla for more than a decade, supplying batteries for its first cars.

The auto industry has been ramping up production of EVs to meet a surge in demand, driving up orders for batteries and raw materials such as lithium and cobalt, among others.

“We are examining various growth strategies for our automotive battery business, but there is no further information that we can share at the moment aside from what we have already announced,” a Panasonic spokesperson said.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

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