Tesla, Panasonic to seek productivity gains before new battery investments

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TOKYO/BENGALURU (Reuters) – Panasonic Corp and Tesla Inc will continue to make new investments in the U.S. electric carmaker’s Gigafactory as needed, but believe they can squeeze more out of existing resources than previously planned, Tesla said on Thursday.

The land of Tesla Gigafactory at a groundbreaking ceremony of Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory in Shanghai, China January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song

Separately, Panasonic said it was watching the demand situation in the electric car market before making any further investments in expanding the capacity of the Nevada plant.

The two companies were responding to a report by Japan’s Nikkei that said they had frozen previous plans to raise the capacity of the plant, which supplies battery packs for Tesla cars.

“Both Tesla and Panasonic continue to invest substantial funds into Gigafactory,” a Tesla spokesperson said.

“That said, we believe there is far more output to be gained from improving existing production equipment than was previously estimated.”

Giving no details of its sources, the Nikkei reported that financial issues had led the companies to rethink plans to expand the capacity of Gigafactory 1 by another 50 percent next year.

The business daily said the companies had already together invested $4.5 billion in the