Posted on October 21, 2016 by Matt Pressman
Panasonic, the Japanese electronics giant, has supported Tesla Motors [NASDAQ: TSLA] since its early days. Panasonic started working with Tesla in 2007. Then, in 2010, Panasonic invested $30 million for a multi-year collaboration with Tesla developing lithium-ion battery cells for its electric vehicles. Panasonic proved, early on, that they would be a staunch supporter of Tesla and played a key role in the growth (and success) of the Model S that launched in 2012.
Above: The Tesla Model S is powered by Panasonic's lithium-ion battery cells (Image: Industry Week)
Panasonic also partnered with Tesla on its Gigafactory in order to produce batteries for the Model 3 and Tesla's energy storage products for home and utilities. Most recently, Panasonic announced it would raise up to 400 billion yen ($3.86 billion) in corporate bonds, and confirmed that most of the money would be used for Tesla’s Gigafactory. Earlier this year, Panasonic confirmed that it plans to invest $1.6 billion in the Gigafactory, but a company official also said that they were encouraged by the demand for the Model 3 and that Panasonic is ready to move up their investment schedule if asked by Tesla.
Above: Panasonic executive vice president, Yoshihiko Yamada shakes hands with Tesla CEO Elon Musk as they agree to partner together on the Gigafactory (Source: Inhabitat)
Then, this week, Tesla and Panasonic entered into a non-binding letter of intent under which Panasonic will begin collaborating on the manufacturing and production of photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules in Buffalo, New York pending approval of Tesla's SolarCity merger. It's worth noting that Panasonic just set a new world record for module-level efficiency based on mass-production technology. Their new HIT N330 high-powered module is set to debut in U.K. and has produced a 22.5% efficient solar module based on mass-production technology.
Above: Tesla and Panasonic to partner on solar solutions (Source: Complex Hustle)
Tesla co-founder and CTO JB Straubel elaborates, "By working together [with Panasonic] on solar, we will be able to accelerate production of high-efficiency, extremely reliable solar cells and modules at the best cost." Furthermore, Teslarati reports that, "Together, Tesla and Panasonic may be able to ground ambitious plans for solar-powered systems that charge smart homes and electric cars and make decentralized renewable energy systems that power homes and cars a practical reality."
Above: Panasonic demonstrates a ‘PanoHome’ smart home in Malaysia (Source: Teslarati via Panasonic)
Panasonic has been actively working on smart home solutions already — perhaps future announcements with Tesla could be coming as well. “We expect that the collaboration talks will lead to growth of the Tesla and Panasonic relationship,” said Shuuji Okayama, vice president of Panasonic’s Eco Solutions unit. To that end, we'll be sure to keep you posted on the ever-growing partnership between Panasonic and Tesla.