OSLO -- Tesla's battery supplier, Panasonic, will explore opportunities to open a lithium ion battery factory in Norway with Equinor and Norsk Hydro.
The factory would be "based on Panasonic's leading technology and targets the European market for electric vehicles and other applications," the companies said in a statement on Wednesday.
The plant could supply cylindrical batteries to Tesla's first European car plant that is due to open next summer near Berlin, a Panasonic spokeswoman said.
The companies will approach automakers and other potential customers in Europe, as well as relevant authorities in Norway and elsewhere. They plan to present preliminary findings of their project by mid-2021.
"We expect battery production to grow rapidly as a solution to the world's number one challenge, climate change," said Arvid Moss, Hydro's head of energy and corporate development.
Norway relies heavily on oil and gas revenues. It aims to become the world's first country to end the sale of fossil-fuel powered cars, setting a 2025 deadline. Full-electric vehicles now make up about 60 percent of monthly sales in the country.