Tesla shores up battery supplies with Panasonic through 2017, capacity to produce well over 300,000 cars

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Tesla announced early this morning that it had secured its Lithium battery supply from Panasonic to the tune of  nearly 2 billion cells over the course of four years.  This is an expansion of their 2011 arrangement which has been successful at launching the Roadster and Model S.

Math time:

At around 7000 cells per car for the 85kWh model, that’s around 286K vehicles over the next 4 years. Not a bad clip if you consider Tesla’s 2013 goal of 25K cars.  Keep in mind, Tesla has also announced battery deals with Samsung and others – so there is a lot of upside to this. Also keep in mind 7,000 is the 85kWh model. Assuming there are around 5,000 batteries for the 60kWh model, there is plenty more upside. If Tesla only made 5000-cell cars, that is 400,000 cars for the 2B batteries.

So, putting on my analyst hat for a second, I’d estimate that Tesla’s worst case estimates put a floor of around 100K cars averaged until 2017 when the contract ends (or is likely renewed).

2017 should be well into the $30,000 Model E (which is forecasted to have lower amounts of cells) so growth at the tail end of the deal is likely factored in.

It also means that there likely won’t be some crazy “supercapacitor” type technology coming to mass market any time in the next few years. Even if it did, Tesla Model S and Model X allow for easy battery swaps and firmware could be adjusted accordingly.

Press release follows:



OSAKA, Japan / PALO ALTO, Calif. — Panasonic Corporation and Tesla Motors today announced that the two companies have reached an agreement in which Panasonic will expand its supply of automotive-grade lithium-ion battery cells to Tesla. With this agreement, the two companies update and expand their 2011 arrangement to now supply nearly 2 billion cells over the course of four years. The lithium-ion battery cells purchased from Panasonic will be used to power the award winning Model S as well as Model X, a performance utility vehicle that is scheduled to go into production by the end of 2014.

This agreement builds upon a multi-year collaboration between Panasonic and Tesla to develop next-generation automotive-grade battery cells and accelerate the market expansion of electric vehicles. Panasonic’s cells combined with Tesla’s proven EV battery expertise have already enabled more than 130 million customer miles driven in Tesla Roadsters and Model S.

“This expanded agreement with Panasonic is important to Tesla as we continue to increase the pace of production,” said Tesla Co-Founder and CEO Elon Musk. “We look forward to strengthening our relationship with Panasonic, and I’m confident that this partnership will continue to be an integral part of Tesla’s success for years to come.”

Together, Panasonic and Tesla have developed a next-generation battery cell technology that provides the highest energy density and best performance cells in the market. Panasonic’s cylindrical cell is a customized technology designed specifically for optimizing electric vehicle quality and life. These cells are integrated by Tesla into the battery pack in a way that enables an industry-leading range of approximately 265 miles for the Model S.

“We are extremely proud to be a strategic partner of Tesla,” said Yoshihiko Yamada, president of the Automotive & Industrial Systems Company, an internal company of Panasonic. “Panasonic will increase its production capacity of lithium-ion battery cells to supply Tesla’s growing needs as it expands its production of EVs.”


Panasonic Corporation is a worldwide leader in the development and engineering of electronic technologies and solutions for customers in residential, non-residential, mobility and personal applications. Since its founding in 1918, the company has expanded globally and now operates over 500 consolidated companies worldwide, recording consolidated net sales of 7.30 trillion yen for the year ended March 31, 2013. Committed to pursuing new value through innovation across divisional lines, the company strives to create a better life and a better world for its customers. For more information about Panasonic, please visit the company’s website at panasonic.net


Tesla Motors’ (NASDAQ: TSLA) goal is to accelerate the world’s transition to electric mobility with a full range of increasingly affordable electric cars. California-based Tesla designs and manufactures EVs, as well as EV powertrain components for industry partners. Tesla has delivered over 15,000 electric vehicles to customers in 31 countries.

Media Contacts
Panasonic Corporation
Tokyo Public Relations Office
Tel: +81-(0)3-3574-5664 Fax: +81-(0)3-3574-5699

Panasonic News Bureau
Tel: +81-(0)3-3542-6205 Fax: +81-(0)3-3542-9018

Tesla Motors
Tel: 650-681-5250/650-681-5113

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Avatar for Seth Weintraub Seth Weintraub

Publisher and Editorial Director of the 9to5/Electrek sites. Tesla Model 3, X and Chevy Bolt owner…5 ebikes and counting