According to Nikkei on January 10, Kazuhiro Tsuga, the CEO of Panasonic was interviewed in Las Vegas CES expo in the US. Tsuga expressed that Panasonic plans to manufacture Tesla EV batteries in China, but the schedule is not specified. Panasonic is the major supplier of Tesla EV batteries, and currently it produces batteries for Tesla EV in Japan or the US.
Sources said that Tesla is evaluating the plan to make EV in Shanghai. Panasonic, as Tesla’s major battery supplier, will evaluate investment plan in China based on Tesla’s directions. Even though Panasonic does have a main automotive battery factory in Dalian, China, this factory manufactures different batteries than what Tesla needs.
Tsuga plans to visit Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada, USA on January 11. This battery factory is co-operated by Panasonic and Tesla. Tsuga explained that battery unit automation project was delayed. The future direction will depend on reality and further discussion. Tsuga pointed out that Tesla originally set a goal of making five thousand vehicles per week by March 2018, but then Tesla cut the goal, down to 2,500 cars per week.
According to etnews and Inside EVs, the Bolt of General Motors (GM) topped the EV sales in the North America market in October 2017, reaching 2,781 cars. As for 2018, so far Bolt is the second best-selling EV in the North American market. By contrast, Tesla’s Model S’s sales suddenly dropped from 4,860 cars in the previous month, to 1,120 cars. Model X’s sales fell from 3,120 cars in the previous month, to 850 cars. Model 3 suffered by battery supply shortage, so it has only sold 145 cars.
From the source countries, Tesla’s battery is supplied by Japan-based Panasonic. Other auto makers (such as GM) purchase EV batteries from Korea-based LG Chem and Samsung SDI. When Tesla’s market share dramatically fell, Japan-based battery manufacturers suffered shrinking market shares. Japanese battery makers’ market share decreased to 44.5% in October 2017. Contrarily, Korea-based firms’ market share rose to 55.5%. This was the first time that Korean battery manufacturers’ share surpassed the Japanese’ share.
This was the second year that Korean battery firms increased market share. In 2016, South Korean and Japanese battery companies took 22% and 78% of market share, respectively. In 2017, Korean battery firms’ market share grew to 30%~40%. In October 2017, the Korean battery makers’ market share exceeded 50%.