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Panasonic to begin mass producing new Tesla battery by end-March

TOKYO (CNA) – Panasonic Corp said yesterday it will begin mass production of a new lithium-ion battery for Tesla Inc before the end of March at a plant in Japan.

Unveiled by the Japanese company in October, the 4680 format (46 millimetres wide and 80 millimetres tall) battery is around five times bigger than those currently supplied to Tesla, meaning the United States (US) electric vehicle (EV) maker will be able to lower production costs.

The new powerpack is also expected to improve vehicle range, which could help Tesla lure more drivers to EVs.

Panasonic will build two new production lines at its Wakayama factory in western Japan to build the batteries, the company said in a news release.

The company did not say how much it will spend on the expansion.

The Nikkei newspaper reported earlier that Panasonic planned to invest JPY80 billion in the plant.

A Panasonic Corp’s lithium-ion battery infront of a Tesla Motors logo in Tokyo. PHOTO: CNA