Tesla Motors is currently in talks with Samsung Electronics for their car batteries. Tesla Motors has been depending largely on Panasonic for their batteries up until now.
Sales of the Model S sedan are ramping up and Tesla Motors may likely have to diversify their supplier base to keep up. The Korea Herald is reporting that Samsung SDI will be the first to offer an alternative to Panasonic. Samsung already makes batteries for the BMW i3, the Fiat 500e, and various Volkswagen models.
Tesla Motors is also reportedly in talks with LG Chem and BYD.
Panasonic plans to keep forging ahead with battery production. The company is currently building two separate facilities at their Osaka Prefecture campus. Panasonic saw a $41.66 million addition to their bottom line thanks to lithium-ion battery production in the last quarter.
Tesla Motors and Samsung SDI are currently in the final testing stages before Samsung can sign on-board. These tests include the life of the battery, the safety tests, and standard driving tests. It is possible that Samsung would provide batteries for both the Model S sedan and the future Model X crossover.
Another reason why Tesla Motors is considering alternative suppliers is due to natural disasters. When the earthquake Fukushima hit Japan in 2011, Apple supplier Sharp was heavily affected. This caused a major delay in iPhone distribution. Tesla Motors supplier Panasonic is not immune to natural disasters either.