Tesla, Panasonic said to plan $1B investment in US battery plant

Tesla and Panasonic may hook up on a US battery plant with a total investment close to $1 billion, according to a Japan-based report.

The future Tesla Model X. A battery plant is planned for the U.S.
The future Tesla Model X. A battery plant is planned for the U.S. Tesla

Tesla Motors, Panasonic, and other Japanese companies are planning to invest close to $1 billion in a US battery plant, according to Nikkei.

With a target date of 2017, the lithium-ion-battery facility will "handle everything from processing raw materials to assembly," Japan's largest business daily said on Wednesday.

Panasonic, which is an investor in Tesla, is inviting a number of Japanese materials makers to join the project, with a total investment estimated to reach more than 100 billion yen ($965 million), Nikkei said.

This is a non-trivial investment for an electric car maker as the battery represents a large part of the vehicle's cost, Nikkei pointed out.

One of the aims of the plant is to bring down the cost of the battery component and make future Tesla models more affordable. The Model S starts at about $70,000.

The plant may also supply Toyota and other automakers with batteries. There are also plans for "home-use" storage batteries in order to boost product numbers, Nikkei said.

The Tesla Model S chassis and battery.
The Tesla Model S chassis and battery. Tesla
About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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