Panasonic May Boost Gigafactory Investment to Prepare for Tesla Model 3

#hashtags: #Tesla #Model 3 #Panasonic #Gigafactory #Yoshio Ito #Reuters #Ito

Tesla recently said it will ramp up production of the Model 3 more quickly than originally planned due to strong demand for the entry-level EV. To help Tesla achieve this goal, Panasonic might accelerate its investment in the Gigafactory.

“We will do our best to move up the schedule if requested,” Yoshio Ito, head of Panasonic’s automotive and industrial systems division, told Reuters and other media outlets.

Back in 2014, Panasonic finalized an agreement with Tesla to build lithium-ion cells for Tesla’s battery factory. The tech company will invest $1.6 billion in the Gigafactory in phases over the next few years. Production of the batteries will begin later this year.

The Tesla Model 3 is expected to roll out to customers in late 2017, although the automaker has a track record of delays. Already, Tesla has secured around 373,000 reservations without launching any promotional campaigns. Eager to keep up with the strong demand, Tesla now plans to tool its factories to build 500,000 vehicles a year in 2018, two years earlier than planned.

“We just don’t want to be a bottleneck,” Ito said, although he declined to say whether he thought Tesla’s production goals were realistic or not.

Tech giant Panasonic is looking to increase its foothold in the automotive business and reduce its heavy focus on low-margin consumer electronics. It wants to double its automotive business revenue to 2 trillion yen ($18.2 billion) over the next three years, or about 20 percent of its overall sales.

Source: Reuters