TOKYO May 21 Japan's Panasonic Corp
said on Wednesday it's examining U.S. electric automaker Tesla
Motors Inc's plans for a lithium battery factory before
the electronics firm decides how much to invest in it.
Yoshio Ito, senior managing executive officer at Panasonic,
said that division of responsibilities and share of ownership in
the factory would be key factors in its decision. Panasonic had
already sent a letter of intent to Tesla, he added.
Tesla is planning to begin building a "gigafactory" in the
United States producing lithium batteries from 2017, with the
aim of reaching full capacity by 2020. Panasonic, the prime
supplier of lithium batteries to the U.S. firm, signed a
contract last October to increase its supply to nearly 2 billion
battery cells in the four years to 2017.
(Reporting by Reiji Murai; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)