Panasonic dismisses Samsung, LG as viable suppliers for Tesla

By Kim Young-won
  • Published : Jul 11, 2016 - 12:06
  • Updated : Jul 11, 2016 - 14:29
[THE INVESTOR] Korean firms Samsung SDI and LG Chem are unlikely to supply batteries for US-based Telsa’s electric cars any time soon, as Panasonic will continue being the exclusive supplier, according to an executive at the Japanese firm.

Kenji Tamura, the head of Panasonic’s energy business, said in a recent interview with Japanese reporters that he is “confident,” that Panasonic would keep the exclusive contract with the US partner.

Tesla Model 3

This is because as Panasonic, the sole battery supplier for Tesla, will continue to upgrade its technology for maximized performance. 

The Japanese firm, which plans to jointly build a so-called gigafactory with Tesla for producing batteries in Nevada, has vowed to invest $1.6 billion in building the factory that is expected to require 5 billion of funding.  

Tesla CEO Elon Musk also recently indicated on Twitter that Panasonic may reign as the exclusive battery supplier for Tesla’s electric vehicles, Model 3, S and X models, except for the Roadster 3.0.

Some of LG Chem’s Lithium-ion batteries have been deployed in Tesla’s electric sports car model, Roadster 3.0, but in a limited volume. Samsung SDI’s batteries have been reportedly used in Telsa’s home energy storage systems.

The two Korean firms are also facing headwinds in China after both failed to meet the standards for electric car battery firms to receive the Chinese government’s subsidy. This may undermine the price competitiveness of Samsung and LG against their Chinese rivals.

“There was a glitch in paperwork. We plan to apply for the subsidy again,” a Samsung SDI official said.

By Kim Young-won (