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Panasonic To Benefit From Tesla’s SA Power Fix

Panasonic would be a major beneficiary of Tesla’s proposed energy storage solution for South Australia’s power crisis.

Beginning in January, the two companies started mass production of lithium-ion battery cells at Tesla’s ‘Gigafactory’ in Nevada. These batteries form the basis of Tesla’s promise to install 100 to 300 Mwh of energy storage for South Australia within 100 days of a contract being signed.

Tesla’s vice president for energy products Lyndon Rive told the Australian Financial Review that while the company does not have 300Mwh of batteries “sitting there ready to go”, he and CEO Elon Musk are confident they could have a system up and running in 100 days or it would be free.

“We had a similar challenge in southern California… We got 80MWh up in 90 days. That’s unheard of. You just don’t get power plants running up and down that fast,” Rive said at the launch of the Powerwall 2 near Melbourne.

By 2018, the Gigafactory is expected to produce 35 GWh/year of lithium-ion battery cells, which Tesla states is “nearly as much as the rest of the entire world’s battery production combined.” Despite being less than 30% complete, the Gigafactory is being built in stages to allow Tesla, Panasonic and other companies to enter production straight away and expand later as more phases are completed.

Tesla and Panasonic jointly developed the “2170 cell” that will be used in Tesla’s energy storage products along with the upcoming Tesla Model 3. Panasonic is expected to invest up to US$1.6 billion in the US$5 billion Gigafactory according to the company’s president Kazuhiro Tsuga.

“If Tesla succeeds and the electric vehicle becomes mainstream, the world will be changed and we will have lots of opportunity to grow,” Tsuga told the Wall Street Journal.

If the government chooses to take up Tesla up on their offer, the South Australian power crisis could prove to be exactly that.

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