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Panasonic to build prototypes of new Tesla battery in 2021

Japanese manufacturer eyes production deal despite carmaker's in-house plans

A Tesla service center in Costa Mesa, California.   © Reuters

OSAKA -- Panasonic will begin production as early as next year of prototypes of a new, cheaper type of battery for Tesla electric vehicles.

The cylindrical cell, plans for which were announced in September by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, was developed in-house by Panasonic at Tesla's request. It is larger than the automaker's current batteries, at 4.6 cm in diameter and 8 cm long, and also uses different materials. The new design costs less than half as much per kilowatt-hour, according to Tesla.

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