The new facility will manufacture new 4680 lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles in order to expand its business globally. These batteries take their name from their size, measuring 46 millimetres wide and 80 millimetres tall.
It is believed that these batteries will be for Tesla electric vehicles. At around five times as big as the batteries it currently supplies to Tesla, it’s also expected to reduce overall production costs.
To contribute to the rapid adoption of electric vehicles, Panasonic has been working to enhance its line-up of automotive lithium-ion batteries. Currently, Panasonic is developing a new high-capacity lithium-ion battery, the 4680, in multiple locations within Japan.
The company will progressively develop production capabilities in preparation for the full rollout. Along with structural improvements, two additional production lines, as well as utility facilities, will be established at the Wakayama Factory, and productivity verification and mass production are set to begin in the fiscal year ending in March 2024.
Other electric car battery producers, including CATL, LG Energy Solutions and SK Innovations, are investing large amounts into new facilities as electric car sales around the globe continue to grow at a rapid rate.
For example, CATL, who are china’s largest battery company, announced plans to invest $5 billion (£3.7 billion/€4.4 million) in a lithium battery plant in Indonesia and is also developing its first generation of sodium-ion batteries for electric cars.