Panasonic has become one of the companies to watch in 2017. Not only have they partnered with Tesla Motors, lending their lithium-ion battery knowledge to Elon Musk's electric vehicles, but they're also venturing into bendable batteries. Tesla's Gigafactory has confirmed that production of battery cells has kicked off in a big way, that will see "mass production" of lithium-ion batteries that will be installed in Tesla's Model 3. Elon Musk has said that the batteries that Panasonic will be supplying will be the "highest energy density cell in the world and also the cheapest."
With the Gigafactory online and ramping up production, our cost of battery cells will significantly decline due to increasing automation and process design to enhance yield, lowered capital investment per Wh of production, the simple optimization of locating most manufacturing processes under one roof, and economies of scale. By bringing down the cost of batteries, we can make our products available to more and more people, allowing us to make the biggest possible impact on transitioning the world to sustainable energy.
- Tesla Press Release
The cells will also be used in the new iteration of Tesla's home and business-powering Powerwalls.
Panasonic has provided more details on their anticipated bendable lithium-ion technology at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017. The show is hosted in Las Vegas and lets companies show off their latest hardware that they will be releasing to the consumers in 2017.
The bendable batteries have a thickness of only 0.55mm (0.022 inches) and could be used in "card-type and wearable devices". According to Panasonic, the card-like lithium-ion batteries will be able to withstand bending beyond the Japanese Industrial Standards for identification cards. There could be a place for these bendable batteries in industrial applications as well.
Panasonic lists card devices, devices attached to the human body, smart clothing, wristband wearable devices and more, as suitable applications for their new battery technology. They say the new battery can be used reliably for devices attached to the human body because they will be inherently safe. There has been a recent boom in wearable devices in mining operations for miner safety - these batteries could power wearable devices that ensure miner safety in the not too distant future.
The company has 25 patents in Japan and 15 patents overseas, which will instill confidence in shareholders' minds because the patents cannot be copied by other companies.
They have three different batteries with three different capacities. The smallest battery's capacity is 17.5mAh, the middle one 40mAh, and the largest battery has a 60mAh capacity. It seems further research and development must go into the bendable battery technology to implement the batteries into bendable smartphone technologies in the future.
At CES, Panasonic launched the battery to consumers. CEO of Panasonic Joseph M. Taylor told crowds that the flexible batteries will be built at Tesla's Gigafactory where they have been manufacturing the car-powering batteries as well.
"This is a lithium-ion battery that was developed to be very thin and bendable, and twistable so it can be adapted to power ultralight card-type devices like smartcards as well as body-worn devices," Taylor said.
Source: Panasonic News
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