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Tesla Model Y production will create a battery shortage, says Panasonic

Tesla’s main battery supplier and partner in Gigafactory 1 says that the start of Model Y production next year will result in a battery cell shortage at the factory.

There are have been several recent reports regarding Tesla’s battery supply, especially relating to Panasonic.

Last month, a report came out of Asia claiming that Tesla and Panasonic suspended investments in the expansion of Gigafactory 1.

Tesla partly denied the report saying that they still plan to continue investments, but they want to first focus on getting more production out of their existing equipment

CEO Elon Musk later confirmed that while Panasonic had invested in an annual production capacity of 35 GWh of battery cells, they are currently limited to about 23 GWh.

During Panasonic’s latest earnings report, CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga said that they plan to ramp up to the full 35 GWh this year.

After that, the CEO said that they need to talk to Tesla.

He said that there’s currently not enough capacity to supply Tesla’s expanding business and especially the upcoming production of the Model Y (via Bloomberg):

“Batteries will run out if Tesla starts to sell the Model Y and expands its business next year. What will we do then? It’s one of a few topics to discuss with Tesla, including battery [production] in China.”

Last month, Tesla said that it is still deciding between its Fremont factory in California and Gigafactory 1 in Nevada for the production of the Model Y.

The automaker is guiding the start of production for the fall of 2020.

Tesla also hasn’t confirmed any battery supplier for the production of the Model 3 at its new Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai, which is supposed to start production later this year.

Electrek’s Take

This is interesting because the question of battery cell supply is one that all automakers planning mass production of electric vehicles have to answer.

For Tesla, the answer has always been quite simple over the last few years: they have a strong partnership with Panasonic and they are increasingly expanding production at Gigafactory 2.

But now with the battery cell production ramp up being clearly delayed at Gigafactory 1 and Tesla’s plans to significantly increase vehicle production with Model Y, the situation is starting to become a little murky.

With Gigafactory 3 production supposedly being only months away and Model Y production being just over a year away, it would be good to have some clarity on Tesla’s battery supplier soon.

My guess is that they will negotiate another investment from Panasonic to significantly increase production at Gigafactory 1 soon.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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