Panasonic just announced that it is building a $4 billion battery cell factory in Kansas to supply Tesla, but we now learn that the Japanese company is considering greenlighting another large-scale US battery cell factory to build simultaneously.
Before choosing Kansas for its new battery cell factory in the US last month, Panasonic was choosing between Oklahoma and Kansas.
The company ended up going with Kansas for a large-scale battery cell factory, its second in the US after its part in Tesla’s Gigafactory Nevada where it exclusively produces battery cells for Tesla vehicles.
Panasonic plans to manufacture new 4680 cells for Tesla at the new Kansas plant.
Now the Wall Street Journal reports that Panasonic’s plan for a battery cell factory in Oklahoma is not dead because it is moving forward with Kansas. The report states that the Japanese manufacturer is actually considering also building a plant in Oklahoma simultaneously:
The new Panasonic plant would come in addition to a roughly $4 billion EV battery factory that the Japanese company said in July it plans to build in Kansas. People with knowledge of Panasonic’s plans described the two plants as twins with similar capacity.
While this would be a big investment for Panasonic, it wouldn’t actually be out of the norm.
LG Energy and SK Innovation, both competitors of Panasonic, have both announced plans for multiple battery cell factories in the US in partnership with GM and Ford respectively.
Panasonic supplies cells to multiple electric automakers, but it is obviously closer to Tesla who has made it clear that it will buy every viable battery cell it can get its hands on for the foreseeable future.
If you believe Tesla, it wouldn’t be a bad business model to ramp up production as fast as you can with as many factories as you can. Also, both Kansas and Oklahoma are strategically located relatively close to Tesla’s Gigafactory Texas where most of the company’s growth in production capacity is going to come from in North America for the next few years.
The Oklahoma state government has already approved an incentive package worth over $600 million for battery cell factory, but it’s not clear when Panasonic will make a final decision.
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