Panasonic to Build Four New Car Battery Factories by 2030 to Cope with Fierce Competition

Panasonic Energy, a subsidiary of Japanese electronics giant Panasonic, is planning to build four new car battery factories by fiscal year 2030 to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles.

The company currently mainly supplies batteries to Tesla, but is also in talks with other automakers, such as Mazda, to expand its customer base. Panasonic Energy plans to quadruple its car battery production capacity to 200 gigawatt hours (GWh) by fiscal year 2030, compared to 50 GWh in fiscal year 2022.

The new factories will be built in North America, where the demand for electric vehicles is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years. Panasonic Energy CEO Shoichiro Watanabe said that the company needs to build more factories in order to compete with Chinese and South Korean battery manufacturers, which are expanding their market share in the global electric vehicle market.

"Basically, the method of fully investing in factories by battery manufacturers is no longer applicable," Watanabe said in an interview with Reuters. "We need to work with automakers to establish a 'local production and local consumption' model battery supply chain."

The global demand for automotive batteries is expected to surge from $4 trillion in 2019 to $53 trillion in 2050. Chinese and South Korean battery companies, which are already major players in the global market, are planning to build new factories in the United States to capture a larger share of the growing market.

Panasonic Energy is trying to expand its supply beyond Tesla after announcing contracts with emerging U.S. electric carmaker Lucid and Hexagon Purus, a Norwegian developer of battery systems for commercial electric vehicles.

"Until the beginning of this year, many investors believed that Panasonic's battery business could not be evaluated because it was completely dependent on Tesla," said Atsuta Eze, an analyst at Citi Securities. "But the company's recent moves to expand its customer base and build new factories are a positive sign."

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