Last week, we reported on Tesla starting to take delivery of important quantities of battery cells from a new supplier: Samsung SDI. At the time, we contacted Tesla to know what the cells will be used for, the company declined to comment, but we speculated that it could be used for ‘Tesla Energy’ products.
Now prompted by a Reuters report yesterday citing Samsung SDI sources claiming that they are in negotiation with Tesla to supply batteries for its cars, Elon Musk has confirmed that Panasonic will be exclusively supplying cells for the Model 3, S and X.
While the CEO didn’t confirm it, if the Samsung shipments will not end up in car battery packs, it’s likely that they will be used in stationary energy storage battery packs: Powerwalls and Powerpacks. Tesla also approved LG Chem battery cells for the Roadster battery upgrade and the cells could end up in a similar project.
A bill of lading between Tesla Motors and Samsung SDI at the Oakland port showed that the automaker took delivery of over 120 tons of Samsung SDI 18650 battery cells – the same format Tesla sources from Panasonic – in April 2016.
While the cell format is the same as in Tesla’s vehicles, the energy capacity is significantly less than the current Panasonic cells.
Panasonic’s stock jumped 3% after following Elon’s tweet.
The Japanese electronics giant has been Tesla’s long time strategic partner. The company is investing up to $1.6 billion in the Tesla’s Gigafactory 1, where it will be in charge of cell manufacturing.
Tesla is already manufacturing Powerwalls and Powerpacks at the Gigafactory. If Samsung’s cells are not destined to those products, then it would have to be for an unannounced product.
Update: Elon Musk has now confirmed that the Samsung battery cells are for the Tesla Energy division: