Panasonic’s battery cell production at Tesla Gigafactory 1 has emerged as a bottleneck in Model 3 production as Tesla managed to fix its own production issues.

The battery manufacturer has been deploying new production lines to fix the problem and they now say that they are “ahead of schedule.”

The Japanese electronics giant is the sole battery cell supplier for Tesla’s vehicles. It manufactures custom 18650 li-ion cells in Japan for Tesla’s Model S and Model X vehicles. The Model 3 cells are custom 2170 li-ion cells co-developed with Tesla and manufactured by Panasonic at Gigafactory 1.

Earlier this year, Panasonic admitted that Model 3’s production ramp is creating ‘occasional battery cell shortages’ and they said that they are open to increasing their investment in the factory.

Tesla Gigafactory 1, which started in 2013, has already grown into the biggest battery factory in the world with an annual production capacity of over 20 GWh.

Panasonic said that it planned on adding three production lines to increase the capacity to 35 GWh by the end of the year to support the production ramp.

Yoshio Ito, head of Panasonic’s automotive business, said in a new interview in Tokyo yesterday that they are now ahead of schedule without specifying an exact date (via Bloomberg):

“The bottleneck for Model 3 production has been our batteries. They just want us to make as many as possible.”

As we previously reported, the original plan for the full capacity was 35 GWh of battery cells and 50 GWh of battery packs.

The company later claimed to have found ways to improve efficiency and increase production capacity to 105 GWh of battery cells and 150 GWh of battery packs within the same structure.

The current Gigafactory 1 structure has a 1.9 million square-foot footprint. Including several levels, the factory currently has about 4.9 million square feet of operational space. This represents only ~30 percent of the planned completed Gigafactory, according to Tesla.

We recently released a new drone flyover of the factory, which hasn’t changed much in the last year.

It is expected to start growing again as Tesla and Panasonic need more space to expand the production capacity.

About the Author