Production at the Tesla Gig Factory will begin in September
Panasonic is ready The new technology for the 2121 lithium-ion battery battery that it manufactures and supplies to Tesla is a change that increases energy density by 5% and reduces the cost of cobalt.
Panasonic will produce 2170 new, high-energy, dense cells The company said Thursday at the Tesla factory in Spring, Nevada. Panasonic is upgrading its battery cell lines with production starting in September. The company operates 13 lines in the factory with a capacity of 35 gigawatt hours of batteries per year. Alan Swann, president of Panasonic Energy North America, said all 13 lines would eventually run the new technology when the entire system was upgraded without providing a timeline.
“We’re going to take another leap forward,” Swann said in a recent interview. “It’s kind of interesting from Panasonic’s point of view.” We’re moving toward cobalt-free, and we’re moving toward high-energy, dense batteries that give our customers a choice about how they want to use it. “
The facility where these new battery cells will be manufactured is known as Gigafactory1. An important part of Tesla’s plan to increase global battery capacity and reduce the cost of electric vehicles. Panasonic has been its most important partner in the project, which should continue until at least 2023, based on the current agreement. Panasonic makes 2170 cells in the Giga Factory 1, which Tesla then uses to make battery packs in the Model 3. 2170 cells are also in use by Tesla The latest car, the Model Y.
This is an instant primer. A battery has two electrodes. On one side there is an anode (negative) and on the other side there is a cathode (positive). An electrolyte sits in the middle and acts as a courier that moves ions between the electrodes when charged and discharged.
A high-density cell means that engineers have found a way to pack as much energy as possible into the space. A 5% improvement in the energy density of the cells will result in the same benefit in Tesla’s battery pack. Result: Tesla’s Model 3 and Model Y may see improvements in range. A reduction in cobalt content, an unusual chemical that is expensive and has social and environmental costs, can also help reduce the cost of cells.
Panasonic’s factories in Japan manufacture cylindrical lithium-ion “18650” cells, which are used to power Tesla’s Model S and Model X vehicles. Panasonic has already improved 18,650 cells, resulting in a reduction in cobalt and an improvement in energy density.
Panasonic uses NCA, or nickel cobalt aluminum, cathode chemistry in its battery cells. Panasonic will not disclose the amount of cobalt used today or include details of its technology. However, Selena Mikolajzak, vice president of battery technology at Panasonic Energy in North America, said the total amount of cobalt used in Panasonic cylinder automotive batteries is less than 2% of global demand.
Mykolazzak said NCAN uses less cobalt than NCM, or nickel manganese cobalt oxide. He added that NCA cathode chemistry has been further developed to reduce cobalt..
The company is looking for zero cobalt in its battery cells, Mikolajzak said. Panasonic has already done this in its Race & D Lab. There are plans to commercialize cobalt-free batteries in a few years.