June 8, 2015 / 6:15 AM / 5 years ago

Panasonic to send hundreds to Tesla Gigafactory from autumn

OSAKA, Japan, June 8 (Reuters) - Japanese electronics group Panasonic Corp plans to send hundreds of its employees to Tesla Motors Inc’s Gigafactory in Nevada from this autumn to prepare for production at the plant, which it confirmed will start sometime next year.

Panasonic, which has been expanding into sales of industrial goods and other business to reduce its reliance on commoditised consumer electronics, is partnering with Tesla to make lithium-ion batteries at the eco-car manufacturer’s Nevada Gigafactory.

“We’ll need hundreds of people at the start,” Yoshio Ito, head of Panasonic’s automotive and industrial systems (AIS) division, told reporters on Monday. “We should actually see that starting around the autumn.”

He also said the company plans to invest around 60 billion yen ($478 million) this fiscal year in the Gigafactory and the company’s joint development project with Spanish auto parts maker Ficosa International SA, which specialises in advanced driver assistance systems featuring blind spot detection and assisted parking. ($1 = 125.4900 yen) (Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

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