Electronics giant Panasonic Corporation has added a new dimension to its existing relationship with Tesla Motors by purchasing $30 million worth of the automaker's common stock. The acquisition will leave Panasonic -- which currently is the preferred supplier for lithium-ion battery cells that make up the custom packs used in the Tesla Roadster -- holding about two percent of Tesla's common stock.
In making the announcement, Naoto Noguchi, President of Energy Company -- a unit of Panasonic responsible for the battery cell business, reiterated that "Panasonic aims to be the number one Green Innovation Company in the Electronics Industry by 2018, the 100th anniversary of our founding. Our sophisticated lithium-ion battery cell technology, combined with Tesla's market-leading EV powertrain technology, helps us fulfill this goal by promoting sustainable mobility. We are proud to strengthen our relationship with Tesla Motors."
Calling the move "an honor and a powerful endorsement" of Tesla technology, Tesla CEO and co-founder, Elon Musk, added that he feels Panasonic offers the highest energy-density cells and industry-leading performance and is confident that "our partnership with them will enable us to further improve our battery pack while reducing cost."
Tesla already is involved in the development and production of electric powertrain and component elements for other manufacturers, the highest-profile linkup being its deal with Toyota on the new RAV4-EV. As a result of this latest Panasonic buy-in, the Silicon Valley-based automaker and its new business ally plan to explore joint marketing and sales of battery packs that would be designed and assembled by Tesla using Panasonic's battery cells.
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