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Could Apple Replace Panasonic As a Strategic Partner in Tesla Motors’ Gigafactory?

Investors pushed shares of Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA ) lower by more than 2% on Monday, following news that Panasonic had not fully committed to partnering with the automaker on its planned Gigafactory. This could be a serious setback for the electric-car maker. “Having Panasonic as a joint venture partner would facilitate strategic access to Panasonic’s supply chain and reduce risks,” wrote an analyst at Wedbush Securities. Not to mention, Tesla needs partners to help front a portion of the cost of building the biggest lithium-ion battery plant on the planet.

Here’s a quick recap of where the project currently stands. Last month, Tesla announced plans to build a $4 billion-$5 billion factory that would be capable of producing more lithium-ion batteries in a single year than are currently produced worldwide. On top of this, the electric-car maker says this Gigafactory would lower the cost of its battery packs by as much as 30%.
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