The Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada started producing the flexible lithium-ion batteries Image Credit: Naushad K. Cherayyil, Staff Reporter

Las Vegas: The mass production of flexible lithium-ion battery cells has started at Tesla’s Gigafactory Wednesday, Panasonic Corp has announced on Wednesday.

Joseph M.Taylor, chairman and CEO of Panasonic Corporation of North America, has unveiled the flexible batteries at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), saying electric carmaker Tesla's “Gigafactory” in Nevada has kicked off production of the flexible batteries.

Tesla will be the first to feature the high-density batteries in its storage products.

The Tesla Gigafactory, which broke ground in June 2014, aims to produce lithium-ion batteries, and the electric carmaker has deepened its partnership with Panasonic, its main battery provider.

At CES, Taylor showed off an example of a highly flexible, thin lithium-ion battery.

“This is a lithium-ion battery that was developed to be very thin and bendable, and twistable so it can be adapted to power ultralight card-type devices like smartcards, as well as body-worn devices,” Taylor said.

The battery can also be integrated into smart clothing. “Whatever that is," joked Taylor. "If it makes you look thinner, I’m in for it."

Panasonic also revealed that it has signed a deal with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts to use its s projection technology.



Panasonic Corp first announced its flexible lithium-ion battery in September last year.

The battery has a thickness of only 0.55mm, or about 0.022 inches.

The company said the battery is suitable for use in card-type and wearable devices.

The rechargeable battery can retain its characteristics even after repeatedly bent into a radius of 25mm or twisted to an angle of 25 degrees, the company said.

Card devices, which are often carried in wallets or pockets, require internal components that can withstand bending and twisting.

Slim lithium-ion batteries are used in such devices, but these batteries can degrade when they are bent or twisted, resulting in shorter operating time for the devices.

The battery can be used in wearable devices or any card-type electronics, as it's only 0.55mm (0.022 inches) thin.

Panasonic also said its new flexible battery is safe to use in devices attached to the human body, or  wearable devices.

The nominal capacity for Panasonic's flexible lithium-ion battery, however, is as high as 60mAh, which would mean they're not meant to be included in smartphones.

Smaller models will be shipped have a nominal capacity of 17.5mAh and 40mAh.