Panasonic has Tesla's back when it comes to batteries. At least that's the impression that I got from reading comments made by its chief executive Kazuhiro Tsuga. At the annual CEATEC trade show in Chiba, near Tokyo, he said that his company was ready to make an initial investment of "tens of billions of yen" (right now a dollar is worth about 110 yen, so we're talking about hundreds of millions of dollars). This would be just the first of many investments: “We will expand the size as we go by pouring in further installments of similar amounts," said Mr. Tsuga. “Our policy is to avoid a situation where Tesla wants to make more cars but doesn’t have enough batteries.”
In the past Tesla has said that they expect Panasonic to cover about 30-40% of the $5 billion cost for the Gigafactory, Tesla will cover about half, and the rest will be made up of other investors who haven't yet been named.
Panasonic is already Tesla's main battery supplier, so this only deepens their relationship and makes both companies more interdependent. It'll be interesting to see if in the longer term Tesla decides to diversify its supply chain by maybe building other battery gigafactories with different partners, or if Panasonic will stay the main supplier.
Here's the timeline for construction:
Some giga-stats for the Nevada project:
- Approximately $100,000,000,000 in economic impact over 20 years
- 6,500 direct jobs on-site with an average wage in excess of $25 per hour and full benefit package
- $5 billion initial investment in facility within 3-5 years: ($1 billion in building, $4 billion in equipment)
- An additional $5 billion in planned replacement equipment over a subsequent 10 year period, or a total investment of $10 billion
- Peak construction employment of more than 3,000 construction and installation workers over a three year period
- Expansion of USA Parkway to connect Highway 50 to Interstate 80
- Tesla will make a direct contribution to K-12 education of $37.5 million beginning in August 2018
- Tesla will commit to grant $1 million to fund advanced battery research at UNLV
- Tesla will prioritize the employment of Nevadans and Veterans