Panasonic and Tesla have updated and expanded an existing agreement under which the Japanese giant supplies automotive-grade lithium-ion battery cells to the Silicon Valley trendsetter. The new arrangement calls for Panasonic to supply nearly two billion cells over the course of four years, both for Model S and the new Model X, which is scheduled to go into production by the end of 2014.
Although some continue to think of Tesla’s 18650 small-format cell as a “laptop battery,” in fact it is a unique and highly customized product that the two companies have been working on together since 2010, and is optimized for energy density, performance and safety.
“This expanded agreement with Panasonic is important to Tesla as we continue to increase the pace of production,” said 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.”
It’s no surprise that the two partners are expanding their collaboration. The slow but steady growth in EV sales has led to a battery boom for Panasonic, and Musk has mused that “gargantuan” numbers of battery cells will eventually be needed. There have been reports that Tesla has reached out to other battery makers in order to diversify its supply chain.