Japan’s Panasonic has shipped its first prismatic automotive lithium-ion batteries from a new factory in Dalian, China.
Panasonic said the move followed the start of “mass production” at the site— which was formally opened last year— with consignments of batteries being shipped to Chinese and North American customers.
The $142 million plant is Panasonic’s first automotive battery cell production facility in China and owned by Panasonic Automotive Energy Dalian— an automotive battery joint venture established between Panasonic and Dalian Levear Electric in February 2016.
Panasonic makes prismatic batteries for the Audi Q5, Toyota Prius V, Ford Fusion and C-Max hybrids, as well as for their plug-in variants. It also supplies the Toyota eQ electric minicar.
Panasonic has not released details of production capacity at the 170,000sq/m Dalian site, but said it aims for JPY2 trillion ($19 billion) in sales “for the overall automotive business, including infotainment systems and industrial devices” in the fiscal year ending March 2019.
Following the Dalian launch, Panasonic said its production base now covers “the three key global locations” of Japan, the US and China.
“By strengthening the global competitiveness of its automotive batteries with these sites, Panasonic will further expand its automobile battery business in the future,” the company said.
Last October, Panasonic said it was stepping up production of prismatic lithium-ion batteries in Japan to meet increasing demand for electric vehicles.
The company said it aimed to start production of batteries at a factory in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, in the fiscal year ending in March 2020. However, Panasonic declined to give details about planned production capacity.