Panasonic will not be able to start the volume production of its 4680 battery cells for Tesla before March 2024 like it had originally planned. According to Reuters, the company has delayed the battery's mass production and has decided to kick things off between April and September 2024 instead, so that it would have enough time to improve its performance. "Mass production rescheduled to begin during [the first half of the fiscal year ending in March 2025] to introduce performance improvement measures that will further enhance competitiveness," the company has revealed in its earnings report.
The 4680 battery format has the potential to boost the range of electric vehicles by over 15 percent. Nikkei previously said that it could extend the range of the Model S from 404 miles on a single charge to around 465 miles. It's unclear what Panasonic means by introducing "performance improvement measures" and whether that would lead to even longer range capacities for electric cars.
Tesla manufactures its own batteries in its Fremont, California facility and at the Gigafactory Texas, and it is expected to ramp up production in the latter. But the company still depends on its partner manufacturers, Panasonic being one of them, to be able to meet its battery needs. At the moment, Tesla is using the 4680-type cell for the base Model Y vehicles produced at Gigafactory Texas. The company plans to equip its other vehicles with it, though, including the Cybertruck, which will enter mass production in 2024.