Battery behemoth Panasonic has announced that it will stop making lithium-ion batteries at its factory in Beijing, eliminating 1,300 jobs.
A sign of waning demand for EVs? Nope, just the opposite. The 15-year-old plant produces batteries for mobile phones and digital cameras, and Panasonic plans to move away from these products (which are steadily being superseded by smartphones), in favor of higher-margin markets such as automotive batteries.
Reuters reports that Panasonic is restructuring to focus on EV batteries and home energy storage systems rather than consumer electronics. In June, the Japanese giant said it would invest about half a billion dollars in the coming fiscal year in its automotive battery business.
Panasonic is a partner in Tesla’s $5 billion Gigafactory, and is expected to pony up 30 to 40 percent of the cost of the enormous Nevada plant.