Tesla Refutes Reports About Cutting Investment at Gigafactory

Tesla and Panasonic Moderate Expansion Plans for Battery FactoryMore

The pair had meant to raise capacity at the gigafactory near Reno, Nevada, by about 50 per cent by 2020 but financial problems forced a re-think, the newspaper said without citing its sources. And, with Tesla having broken ground on another Gigafactory in Shanghai in January that will also build cars, now's probably not the ideal time for reports that Panasonic might have cold feet.

Tesla is disputing reports it is cutting investment in the Gigafactory east of Sparks.

TESLA INC slumped after The Nikkei reported the electric carmaker and Panasonic Corp. are suspending plans to expand the capacity of their US$4.5 billion American plant in the face of uncertain demand for electric vehicles.

A Tesla spokesperson said, "we will, of course, continue to make new investments in Gigafactory 1, as needed". "However, we think there is far more output to be gained from improving existing production equipment than was previously estimated".

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Tesla said it needs more batteries from the Panasonic-operated production lines at Tesla's Gigafactory in Reno, Nevada to keep up with the rate at which the company hopes to produce electric vehicles and its home power storage products.

Panasonic likely wants to gauge long term demand for Tesla's highest volume vehicle, the Model 3 now that the list of pre-orders has been fulfilled, which makes sense given the Gigafactory is able to supply 500,000 battery packs per year and Tesla sold 245,000 vehicles in total in 2018.

The partners had planned to grow plant capacity from 35 gigawatt hours per year to 54 GWh by 2020 and have already sunk $4.5 billion into the expansion, but they are stunted by financial constraints.

Shares of Tesla have had a volatile ride over the previous year as Musk has overseen the ramp-up of the company's Model 3 sedan, the company's first vehicle directed at the middle market.

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"Panasonic shares have been dragged down by various Tesla woes", Masayuki Otani, chief market analyst at Securities Japan. Moreover, the article states that Panasonic intends to freeze its investments in Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai as well.

Although Panasonic is Tesla exclusive battery supplier, its deal with the electric automaker is not exclusive.

In February, Tesla said it had agreed to buy U.S. energy storage company Maxwell Technologies Inc, sending shares in Panasonic lower.

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