Panasonic agrees to back Tesla battery Gigafactory

May 08, 2014 // By Paul Buckley
Panasonic Corp. has finally signed a letter of intent to join for Tesla Motors Inc's 'gigafactory' battery plant project.

At a conference call to discuss Tesla's first-quarter earnings Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive officer disclosed Panasonic’s growing interest in the 'gigafactory' project.

In March 2014 Panasonic, which is currently Tesla’s main supplier of battery cells, had expressed doubts about whether the company was willing to invest in the $5 billion lithium-ion battery factory which laims to be able to make more lithium-ion batteries in a year than were produced worldwide in 2013.

JB Straubel, Tesla’s chief technology officer, said the company was "quite comfortable that we’re heading toward a final agreement sometime later this year.” Musk added that groundbreaking on one of at least two possible factory sites may happen as early as June 2014.

Tesla's plans see the 'gigafactory' as being central to the company's business growth. The new plant should eventually employ 6,500 people.

Tesla has suggest that Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas are possible factory sites and that it will break ground in at least two states.

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