Panasonic to begin mass producing new Tesla battery by end-March 2024

TOKYO, Feb 28 (Reuters) – Panasonic Corp (6752.T) said on Monday it will begin mass production of a new lithium-ion battery for Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) before the end of March 2024 at a plant in Japan.

Unveiled by the Japanese company in October, the 4680 format (46 millimetres wide and 80 millimetres tall) battery is around five times bigger than those currently supplied to Tesla, meaning the U.S. electric vehicle (EV) maker will be able to lower production costs.

Panasonic will build two new production lines at its Wakayama factory in western Japan to build the batteries, the company said in a news release.

The company did not say how much it will spend on the expansion.

The Nikkei newspaper reported earlier that Panasonic planned to invest 80 billion yen ($692 million) in the plant.

Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Tom Hogue and Kim Coghill