Tesla, Panasonic Friends And Foes At Same Time

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Tesla and Panasonic are “frenemies” professionally, as the EV firm is working closely with Panasonic for manufacturing battery cells for its high-end electric cars. But as a recent Bloomberg profile hints, the companies can be rivals in the energy storage business.

Panasonic and Tesla

Panasonic not only makes cells for the Tesla Model S but also owns a small stake in the automaker. The firm is also helping Tesla with its massive Nevada gigafactory by providing funds. Once the factory reaches completion, it will head the cell-fabrication operations there.

In May, Tesla unveiled its Powerwall and Powerback energy storage battery packs for usage at homes, businesses and utilities. Rivaling Tesla, standalone battery packs for energy storage will soon be sold by Panasonic in Europe, starting with Germany. Bloomberg reports that the consumer solar market is very developed in Germany which is why Tesla CEO Elon Musk views it as an important market for energy storage.

At the recent IFA electronics show in Berlin, Panasonic’s chief of the European Division, Laurent Abadie, told Bloomberg that the firm plans to expand sales to France and the U.K., subsequently. Up to 70% of a household’s electricity needs can be handled by battery packs, which already available in Japan, according to Abadie. The executive said Panasonic aims to develop units that are capable of replacing grid electricity completely.

Tesla not the only brand in energy storage

Outside Japan, Panasonic expects the energy storage business to grow to $83 million by fiscal 2018. Sales of energy storage units in Australia will begin in October. Per-day usage in a Japanese household has been noted at 10 kilowatt-hours, while for a U.S. household, it’s three times more.

Even though Tesla is not the first to enter the energy storage business, its high profile has given it much more attention. But Tesla won’t be the only recognizable brand in energy storage. In addition to Panasonic, Mercedes-Benz also has plans to enter the business in Europe.

On Tuesday, Tesla shares closed up 2.58% at $248.17. Year to date, the stock is up by almost 12%, while in the last year, shares are down by almost 11%.

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