The head of Japan’s Panasonic Corp has floated the idea of jointly producing electric vehicle batteries in China with Tesla.
Panasonic CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga (pictured) said during an earnings briefing on 10 May that the move could be on the cards, Reuters reported.
“Tesla could in the future launch full-fledged production in China— and we could produce jointly,” the Panasonic chief was quoted as saying.
But Tsuga’s comments came amid mixed signals about how the conglomerate sees its future relationship with Elon Musk’s Tesla.
According to Japan’s influential business journal, the Nikkei Asian Review, “Panasonic is growing wary of the risks posed by its battery partnership with Tesla… which has been eating through capital while production of its mass-market sedan struggles to get off the ground”.
Panasonic currently produces battery cells for Tesla in Japan as well as at Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory where it uses the cells to make battery packs.
Both Panasonic and Tesla have put down battery business roots in China to cater for the burgeoning EV car market in Asia and overseas.
Two months ago, Panasonic shipped the initial batch of prismatic automotive lithium-ion batteries from its first automotive battery cell production facility in China.
BBB reported at the end of 2017 that Tesla had formed a new company in China for the research and development of batteries and energy storage devices.