SAN FRANCISCO: Five Tesla employees told CNBC that the company is privately working to reduce its dependency on Panasonic for EV battery cells by creating its own cell manufacturing facility.
Because the battery pack and cells are the most expensive parts of an electric vehicle and the component whose limited supply is slowing the production of Tesla models, producing its own parts would give Tesla greater control over its manufacturing process.
Musk has publicly stated that Panasonic is the reason that the Model 3 production has been dragging. In fact, he claimed that the cell lines at their shared cell manufacturing facility in Nevada are "operating at only two-thirds of their capacity."
According to the employees, research surrounding this manufacturing project is taking place at a lab just a few minutes away from the company's Fremont plant.
If Tesla-branded cells do take off, it could lead to a drop in vehicle prices as fewer costs would be sent to vendors, partners, or other third-party suppliers.