Tesla ‘Gigafactory’ May Expand Electric Car Market

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Electric-car maker Tesla Motors and Panasonic, the Japanese-owned electronics firm, have signed an agreement to build a giant battery manufacturing facility in the U.S.

The "Gigafactory," as it is known, would help Tesla become a mass manufacturer of electric cars.

Per the agreement, Tesla will prepare, provide and manage the facility while Panasonic manufactures and supplies cylindrical lithium-ion cells.

"[T]he Gigafactory represents a fundamental change in the way large scale battery production can be realized," JB Straubel, chief technical officer and co-founder of Tesla, said in a joint statement Thursday.

Panasonic's executive vice president, Yoshihiko Yamada, added: "Panasonic's lithium-ion battery cells combine the required features for electric vehicles such as high capacity, durability and cost performance. And I believe that once we are able to manufacture lithium-ion battery cells at the Gigafactory, we will be able to accelerate the expansion of the electric vehicle market."

Tesla projects the plant will employ approximately 6,500 people by 2020.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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