In order to alleviate its exclusive reliance on Panasonic, Tesla is conducting R&D on its automotive batteries for in-house production, thereby lowering its production costs and raising manufacturing flexibility, according to inside sources.
The insufficiency in battery supplies has been the major bottleneck in the production of Tesla’s electric cars and energy storage systems, said Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk at the shareholders' meeting in early June.
As of now, a laboratory in Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada has already begun to conduct R&D on cutting-edge lithium-ion battery technology and the process for the mass production of those batteries.
Whatever the outcome of the project is, it is worth noting that Tesla is not actually planning to decrease its current reliance on Panasonic for its battery supplies. In fact, the Nevada Gigafactory is actually a joint venture between Tesla and Panasonic. Panasonic is also one of the two major battery firms, along with LG, that is partnering with Tesla in the construction of the Shanghai Gigafactory, which is scheduled for completion in 2019 before inauguration in 2020.
The R&D project for batteries is a part of Tesla's efforts to cut its overall battery costs, which is critical for it to turn in a profit. To further expand its future battery business, Tesla has also taken steps to acquire the battery technology firm Maxwell Technologies in 2019.
(Collaborative media: TechNews, first photo courtesy of Tesla)