Panasonic, Tesla’s current battery cell supplier, said Thursday it will manufacture and supply cylindrical lithium-ion cells and invest in the equipment, machinery and other tools based on the two companies mutual approval. Meanwhile, Tesla will prepare, provide and manage the land, buildings and utilities.
Panasonic did not reveal how much it will invest into the gigafactory. Tesla has said it could cost as much as $5 billion.
In February, Tesla revealed plans to build a 10-million-square-foot facility, or gigafactory, to produce more lithium-ion batteries annually by 2020 than were made worldwide in 2013.
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based automaker estimates the gigafactory will have the capacity to produce 50 gigawatt hours of battery packs a year by 2020. The battery packs will be used for its existing Model S luxury sedan and a cheaper next-generation vehicle, to be called the Model 3. The plant will also produce cells, modules and packs for the stationary storage market.
In June, CEO Elon Musk opened up all the patents for his company’s electric vehicle technology in an attempt to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission vehicles “Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.”