Panasonic has opened a new battery factory in Dalian, China. It will produce lithium ion battery cells for China’s “new energy vehicle” market. China deems any plug-in hybrid or battery electric car to be a “new energy vehicle” and is encouraging all companies that build cars locally to make them at least 8% of their production in coming years. That means the Chinese auto industry will need lots more battery cells. You can see some of the different lithium ion cells the company manufactures in the photo below.
Panasonic already has a large battery making operation in Japan and is a major partner with Tesla in the Nevada Gigafactory. The company did not say specifically which companies it will be making cells for at its new battery factory. It said in a press release:
“With an increasing awareness of environmental issues, the market for eco-friendly vehicles is expanding every year, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and all electric vehicles. Panasonic has provided automotive lithium ion batteries to a number of auto manufacturers on a global basis and is leading the automotive battery market.
“Furthermore, in response to further increase in the demand of high-performance automotive lithium ion batteries, Panasonic not only increased production at Japanese sites but will also start automotive battery cell production in the United States in 2017. The newly constructed factory in China is a new production facility of Panasonic Automotive Energy Dalian Co., Ltd., an automotive battery joint venture established between Panasonic and Dalian Levear Electric Co., Ltd. in February 2016.
Panasonic is aiming to achieve 2 trillion yen ($180 million) in sales for the overall automotive business, including infotainment systems and industrial devices, in the fiscal year 2019 (ending March 31, 2019) which marks the 100th anniversary of the company’s founding. Panasonic will develop the new factory into a core manufacturing site in China, and further strengthen its automotive battery business.”
The new battery factory has over 860,000 square feet of floor space and will manufacture “prismatic type lithium-ion batteries for eco-friendly vehicles.” It is scheduled to begin operations during the company’s 2018 fiscal year which ends March 31 next year. It will employ about 500 workers.
Source: Inside EVs