Panasonic would consider extra investment in Tesla’s Gigafactory if requested -exec

The Tesla Gigafactory is shown under construction outside Reno, Nevada May 9, 2015. (Reuters pic)

OSAKA: Japan’s Panasonic Corp would consider additional investment in Tesla Inc’s automotive battery plant in the US state of Nevada if requested by the US electric car manufacturer, an executive said on Monday.

Additional investment would come on top of about $1.6 billion. Panasonic is contributing to Tesla’s $5 billion so-called Gigafactory, which Panasonic jointly operates.

“We would, of course, consider additional investment if we are requested to do so,” Yoshio Ito, the chief of Panasonic’s automotive business, said at a media roundtable in response to a question about whether the Japanese firm would increase its investment.

The comment comes after Tesla hit its target of producing 5,000 Model 3 electric sedans on Sunday morning, several hours after the midnight goal set by Chief Executive Elon Musk, two workers at the factory told Reuters.

Panasonic is the exclusive battery cell supplier for Tesla’s current production models, making them in Japan as well as at the Gigafactory.

Ito said last week at Panasonic’s general shareholders’ meeting that a pickup in the production of the Model 3 has resulted in occasional battery cell shortages.