We still don't know where Tesla will build its Gigafactory, but Panasonic has officially signed onto the project, and is slated to invest up to $300 million in the plant – just for starters.
Nikkei reports that the lithium-ion battery plant, which is due to begin construction this fiscal year and start supplying packs for Teslas by 2017, will get 20 to 30 billion yen (around $200-300 million) from Panasonic. That cash will help with the cost of machinery, while Tesla will handle the land and buildings.
By 2020, Tesla expects the plant to be producing enough batteries to handle up to 500,000 electric vehicles each year, but the factory will be begin small and build out as demand increases.
The latest round of rumors about the Gigafactory's location has it being built at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, about 20 miles from Reno, NV, although a former Naval weapons station northeast of San Francisco is apparently still in the running.
And while $300 million doesn't seem like much right now, Panasonic could put as much as $1 billion towards the Gigafactory's $5 billion projected cost.