Panasonic accelerates battery drive with new production line

Japanese company Panasonic will begin production of lithium-ion batteries at its Himeji factory in an effort to increase its presence in the automotive sector

The demand for lithium-ion batteries has increased due to pressure from regulators to have more electric cars on the road

On September 29, electronics firm Panasonic announced it would begin manufacturing automotive lithium-ion batteries at its television screen factory in Himeji, Japan. Production should begin by 2020.

The move is part of the company’s strategy to increase its market share in the automobile industry.

Although Panasonic’s investment in the plant has not been confirmed, it is likely to run into the tens of millions of dollars, as the company has committed to installing innovative vertically integrated production lines.

The factory revamp will enable the firm to boost both domestic and international production.

Panasonic already lays claim to five lithium-ion production plants in Japan and is the exclusive battery supplier for the Tesla Model 3.

Panasonic is aiming to double revenue from its automotive business to $22m by March 2022

In a statement, the company renewed its commitment to traditional electronics, such as LCD screens, but noted that environmental trends have greatly increased demand for battery technology.

“The global market for eco-conscious vehicles has been growing in response to stricter worldwide environmental regulations on automobiles as well as a variety of incentive measures for promoting eco-conscious vehicles,” the statement read. “The world market for automotive batteries, which are essentially required for eco-conscious vehicles, is also growing rapidly, with increasing expectations from auto manufacturers on Panasonic.”

Sales of electric vehicles have grown rapidly in recent times, accelerating past the two million mark last year. Not to be left out, Panasonic is aiming to double revenue from its automotive business to $22m by March 2022.

Environmental regulations will help drive consumers towards electric cars, but a huge question mark remains over whether the technical infrastructure is in place to facilitate higher numbers of electric vehicles on the road.

As well as increased battery capacity from producers like Panasonic, the existing charging network will need to undergo significant expansion.