A new prototype battery from Panasonic, which has five times the storage capacity of conventional batteries, was revealed on Monday. Panasonic’s battery chief said the battery will help strengthen commercial connections with carmaker Tesla Inc. in the United States.
At a media roundtable, at which the new battery was disclosed for the first time by Kazuo Tadanobu, Panasonic indicated it had no plans to produce cheaper electric vehicle batteries called Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP).
In Japan this year, Panasonic built a test system to create a battery cell of 4680 (width 46 mm and height 80 mm) format size that Tesla said will store more energy, cut the battery cost and increase battery manufacturing 100 times by 2030.
“We have developed this because of the strong desire of the other party, and we think this can only lead to stronger ties,” Tadanobu said.
Panasonic’s commitment to deepening business ties with Tesla comes as the EV maker diversifies its suppliers beyond the Japanese company.
Panasonic announced that in the next five years, it is going to enhance the energy densities of Tesla’s EV batteries by 20%. It plans to have a cobalt-free battery available by 2022-2023. Achieving higher battery density is a significant factor in electric vehicles. In general, the more energy a battery can hold, the lighter it will be on an electric car.
While Panasonic used to be Tesla’s exclusive battery supplier, Panasonic recently renewed its contract with Tesla. Yasuaki Takamoto, Head of Panasonic EV, said that the company intended to increase the energy density of the battery for the first time. In this connection, the company introduces battery chemicals that utilize less cobalt to boost energy density.
Tesla’s primary objective is to fully remove the cobalt from the cells and the Chinese battery manufacturer, CATL already provides Tesla with Model 3 cobalt-free batteries. The batteries of lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP), supplied to Tesla by CATL, have lower energy densities than the NCA batteries supplied to Tesla by Panasonic. Panasonic previously reduced their 2170 cell cobalt in the NCA cathode by 5% and began transitioning assembly lines at the Nevada plant in September.
Toyota and Panasonic formed a joint venture last year that specializes in automotive prismatic batteries for electric vehicles. The company is known as Prime Planet Energy & Solutions, Inc. The decision was announced by the companies as they concluded a business integration contract and formed a joint venture to establish a new company. Toyota has 51% of the stakes in both companies and Panasonic 49%.
These Prismatic batteries provide alternative energy for cars and other e-mobility that solves environmental issues and is a significant factor in pushing the ecology of e-mobility.
Not only Toyota, but Panasonic will also supply other clients with batteries in the near future. It develops, produces, and sells high-output lithium-ion batteries and uses solid-state cells in the development and production of high-capacity batteries. They will also research, produce and sell automative batteries for the next generation.