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Tesla, Panasonic to jointly build solar cells

Lucas Mearian | Oct. 18, 2016
Panasonic and SolarCity have been vying for the top spot for solar panel efficiency

The lithium-ion battery cells purchased from Panasonic will be used to power Tesla's Model S and Model X cars, as well as the more affordable models it plans to introduce beginning with the Model 3 sedan by 2017.

In January, Panasonic announced it was increasing a previous commitment to lithium-ion battery technology for electric vehicles and homes, saying it will spend up to $1.6 billion helping to construct Tesla Motor's Gigafactory.

The Gigafactory is expected to cost $5 billion. Panasonic's investment in it is an effort to cement its future in automotive electronics and solar power, according to Panasonic president Kazuhiro Tsuga, speaking at CES earlier this year.

Musk said the Reno, Nev.-based Gigafactory, due to be fully online next year, will manufacture 500,000 lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles per year by 2020 or the equivalent of 50 gigawatt hours of battery packs. Those battery packs can be tightly integrated into Tesla's lithium-ion home and commercial batteries.

In August, during a press and analyst call, SolarCity Chief Technology Officer Peter Rive alluded to a solar shingle product that could be incorporated into new roofs and the battery packs. That product is expected to be unveiled this month.

Tesla stated in a news release that its continued partnership with Panasonic "is an important step in creating fully integrated energy products for businesses, home owners and utilities, and furthers Tesla's mission toward a sustainable energy future."

 

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