Panasonic, Tesla’s main battery supplier, confirmed that it sold its entire stake in the electric automaker, and it claims that it won’t change its relationship.
Believe it or not, there was a time when Tesla had issues convincing battery suppliers to sell them cells.
No one had put cylindrical li-ion battery cells in an electric car before, and battery suppliers weren’t convinced that it was a good idea.
Tesla was eventually able to convince Panasonic, and the rest is history. Now it has become a new standard and every automaker on the planet is fighting for li-ion battery cell supply from the top battery manufacturers in the world.
It started a relationship that’s still strong today.
After signing a long-term battery supply agreement, Panasonic, which at that point was a bigger company than Tesla in terms of valuation, decided to invest in the newly publicly traded automaker back in 2010.
Both companies grew their businesses together, especially through their partnership in Gigafactory Nevada, which became the biggest battery factory in the world.
However, Tesla ended up outgrowing Panasonic with its now-massive $650 billion market valuation.
Today, we learn that Panasonic decided to sell its entire stake in Tesla, which it did for reportedly around $3.6 billion.
The company made an exceptional profit on its stake in Tesla, which it originally bought for around $30 million.
The Japanese manufacturing giant confirmed that it sold all its shares of Tesla by the end of March and notified the automaker about the transaction.
A Panasonic spokesperson commented:
“Our relationship with Tesla as a business partner will not change going forward.”
Tesla blamed Panasonic at times for a slow ramp-up of battery cell production at Gigafactory Nevada, which was creating a bottleneck in the production ramp-up of the Model 3.
The automaker also complained about the price of the battery cells, and the relationship took a turn for the worse when Tesla announced plans to produce its own battery cells.
However, Tesla has made it clear that they would still buy every cell they can from battery suppliers even as they deploy their own production capacity.
Earlier this week, we reported on Panasonic’s new CEO confirming that the company is willing to make a “large investment” in producing Tesla’s new 4680 battery cell for which they are currently building a prototype production line.
If the project is successful, it will likely greatly increase the number of battery cells that Panasonic produces for Tesla.
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