Panasonic May Gain $7 Billion Sales From Tesla Contract

Panasonic Corp. won a contract to supply cells to Tesla Motors Inc.’s electric vehicles in a deal that may generate $7 billion in revenue.

The biggest supplier of lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars will supply 2 billion lithium-ion battery cells to the Palo Alto, California-based automaker in the four years through 2017, the Osaka-based company said in a statement yesterday. That compares with about 200 million units shipped for Tesla in the past two years, according to Chieko Gyobu, a Panasonic spokeswoman.

The company is considering moving workers from personal computer and mobile phone divisions into units developing rechargeable batteries for cars and industrial uses, Megumi Kitagawa, a Panasonic spokeswoman, said in a phone interview. The Tesla contract to supply Model S and Model X vehicles may add about $7 billion in sales and cement Panasonic’s position as the largest supplier for electric cars, said Ali Izadi-Najafabadi, a Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst.

Panasonic shares rose 3.5 percent to 982 yen, headed for the highest close since July 2011, as of the midday break in Tokyo trading, extending an 88 percent gain this year. That compares with a 40 percent year-to-date rise for the benchmark Topix index.

Tesla, led by billionaire Elon Musk, plans to sell 21,000 Model S sedans this year, priced from $70,000 to more than $100,000. The Model X sport-utility vehicle is set to be offered in late 2014.

Panasonic’s Gyobu declined to comment on battery revenue from Tesla.

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