Tesla showed off its new 4680 cell—a tabless battery cell with a new chemistry that promises to boost efficiency and reduce costs—at 2020’s Battery Day event. Since then, several of the automaker’s battery suppliers have reportedly been working on production versions of the 4680 cell.
Now Panasonic has unveiled its version of the Tesla 4680 cell. The Japanese giant, Tesla’s oldest battery partner, says it has solved several technology challenges presented by the larger cell, and plans to deploy a prototype production line.
Kazuo Tadanobu, the head of Panasonic’s battery division, said the new cell has five times the capacity of the cells Tesla currently uses. He added that Panasonic plans to start test production of the new cells at a plant in Japan in March 2022.
Panasonic’s new CEO, Yuki Kusumi, has said his company is prepared to make “a large investment” in producing the new cells if the results of test production are good.
Tesla says it plans to deliver the first vehicles with the new 4680 battery cells sometime in 2022.