In response to an fascinating Bloomberg article, Panasonic is perhaps very effectively positioned to profit from Tesla‘s new 4680 lithium-ion batteries.

These new massive cylindrical cells (46-millimeter diameter and 80-millimeter top) provide a excessive potential of value discount and enchancment of efficiency, though there are lots of technological challenges to supply them at scale.

The Japanese firm thinks that its huge expertise in battery manufacturing (near a century), together with the know-how to supply 2.5 billion small cylindrical cells yearly “with out main issues of safety,” offers it a bonus over opponents.

The brand new cells are tough to make and require state-of-the-art craftsmanship, which is a powerful level of Panasonic:

““Producing these bigger cells requires you increase your craftsmanship one or two full ranges or there shall be issues of safety,” Yasuaki Takamoto, Panasonic’s EV battery head, mentioned in an interview. The corporate’s time-tested safety-management techniques “completely give us an higher hand right here,” he mentioned.”

That is one factor – manufacturing. The second necessary factor for Panasonic is that the bigger cells is perhaps utilized additionally by different EV producers in electronics, which opens the door to cut back the reliance on Tesla as a important lithium-ion cell buyer.

Panasonic is engaged on its pilot/prototype manufacturing line for the checks, earlier than transferring ahead on a industrial scale.

We all know that Tesla can also be working by itself, in-house manufacturing of 4680 cells, however issues won’t progress as easily as Elon Musk would need:

“Musk himself acknowledged the problem of mass producing 4680 cells when talking at a European battery convention in November. Tesla had produced the battery at a “bench-top stage” and was aiming to have it at “pilot-plant stage” quickly, however “scaling up the manufacturing course of is way tougher than proving one thing out on a lab bench,” Musk mentioned.”

Different battery producers are additionally within the 4680 format. We already heard about LG Chem’s LG Energy Solution and prototypes from China.

In response to some voices, at this level, the 4680 format stays an unproven sort and solely time will inform whether or not they are going to succeed available on the market:

“There are vital technological points to get previous, points that many within the trade have been making an attempt to sort out for years,” mentioned Ram Chandrasekaran, a transportation and mobility analyst at Wooden Mackenzie. “If achievable, these battery cells can be groundbreaking. However the jury’s nonetheless out on whether or not they’re deliverable.”