What does it mean to hear about a new factory opening its doors? A lot can depend on what’s actually being made there. Much has been written about Tesla’s plans to open a massive factory in Texas, for instance, but that’s only part of the story. Tesla’s own manufacturing efforts also include components made by other companies — and that’s what makes another piece of news about a different factory opening up so significant.
Autoblog cites an NHK report stating that Panasonic has plans to open a new factory in the United States not far from Tesla’s new factory. The timeframe for this isn’t yet clear, but it ties in with some other efforts Panasonic has underway that should have a big impact on Tesla’s future offerings.
Earlier this year, Reuters reported that Panasonic was developing higher-capacity lithium-iron batteries to be used in Tesla vehicles. Among the benefits of using these batteries was a notable extension in cruising distance — specifically, adding about a fifth of the existing distance on to its capabilities.
Autoblog’s report about the upcoming Panasonic factory also suggests that the new batteries would lower Tesla’s overall costs — something that could make electric vehicles more affordable and, assumably, hasten their adoption by a larger segment of the population.
What we don’t know yet is when this factory will be up and running. But one would think that it won’t be long — after all, it’s a lot easier to cross state lines with batteries than transporting them internationally.
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