A couple of days ago, Reuters reported citing sources familiar with the matter that Samsung SDI was in advanced talks with Tesla to supply batteries for Model 3 and Tesla’s energy storage products like Powerwall. It’s not the first time such rumors have surfaced, though. Last month, the Korea Times claimed that Tesla was negotiating deals with LG Chem, Samsung SDI, and SK Innovation to diversify the supplier base beyond Panasonic.
Will Samsung SDI supply cells for Tesla’s energy storage production?
Tesla founder Elon Musk has taken to Twitter to deny such reports. Musk tweeted out that the EV maker was working exclusively with Panasonic for the Model 3 cells. “News articles claiming otherwise are incorrect,” he added. A Tesla spokeswoman said Tuesday, “Tesla works with all leading battery manufacturers around the world, however we don’t comment on the details of the programs with specific suppliers.”
Would like to clarify that Tesla is working exclusively with Panasonic for Model 3 cells. News articles claiming otherwise are incorrect.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 8, 2016
However, Elon Musk did not address whether Tesla was in discussions with Samsung SDI regarding the supply of cells for its energy storage productions. It is possible that the EV maker may offload battery production for energy storage products to Samsung SDI or another company, so that Tesla and its partner Panasonic can focus on increasing production at Gigafactory for the Model 3.
Panasonic dedicated to boosting battery production for Model 3
Panasonic has been the sole supplier of battery cells for the Model S and Model X vehicles. The Japanese company is contributing as much as $1.6 billion in the Gigafactory over the next few years. Last month, Panasonic said it was ready to bring forward its investment to boost battery production to meet massive consumer demand for Model 3. Tesla has received 373,000 reservations for its mass-market vehicle that will arrive in late 2017.
Tesla aims to ramp up production to 500,000 cars by 2018, two years ahead of the original target. However, its suppliers have been skeptical of the company’s ambitious plan to scale up production in such a short time. Priced at $35,000 for the base version, Model 3 is expected to enter production in July 2017.