Panasonic’s profits have taken a hit due to its collaboration with Tesla at the automaker’s battery Gigafactory, but the tech giant could invest even more money at the plant.
Reuters reports that Panasonic’s collaboration with Tesla has yet to yield a profit, but that an investment beyond its current $1.6 billion contribution could nevertheless come next year. This added investment will allegedly lift capacity at the plant beyond the 35 Gigawatt hours it is set to hit by the end of March.
While increased sales of the Model 3 helped the automaker report a healthy profit in the third quarter, the same can’t be said about Panasonic. In fact, profit dropped by 15 per cent to $840.92 million. One of the reasons for this fall is that Panasonic had to increase spending on battery cell production to keep up with Model 3 production while also sending more of its engineers to the United States. Slower demand for factory automation equipment in China also hurt the company’s bottom line.
Panasonic chief executive Kazuhiro Tsuga said that any additional investment at the Gigafactory will only come if Tesla also makes substantial investments in vehicle production. He also downplayed the possibility of Panasonic investing in Tesla’s upcoming Chinese plant, saying it “will put priority on building additional capacity at the Gigafactory over China.”
According to Tesla, its entry-level Model 3 was the fifth best-selling car in terms of volume in the United States in July-September and the best in the country in terms of revenue.