PANASONIC corp would consider further investment in Tesla Inc's so called Gigafactory if requested by the US electric vehicle maker an executive at the Japanese conglomerate said on Monday.

The investment would come on top of the US$ 1.6 billion Panasonic is contributing to the automotive battery plant, which it jointly operates with Tesla in the US state of Nevada.

"We could ofcourse consider additional investment if we are requested to do so," Yoshio Ito, chief Panasonic's automotive business, said a media rountable, responding to a question about the possibility of further investment, given the chance.

Panasonic's initial investment in the  Gigafactory is almost complete, and the Japanese electronic maker has not made any decision on whether to pledge further funds, Ito said.

The comments come after Tesla hit the target of producing  5,000  Model 3 electric sedans on Sunday morning, several hours after the midnight goal set be Chief Executive Elon Musk, two workers at the factory  told Reuters.

Production of the Model 3, which began last July, has been plagued by a number of issues, including  over-reliance on automation creating bottlenecks in battery production.

Meanwhile, the US firm has been burning through cash as it tools up its assembly line and works on projects such s Model Y crossover sport utility vehicle.

Its free cash flow - a metric of financial health  -widened to negative $1 billion in its latest reporting quarter from negative $277 million three months prior, excluding costs of systems for its solar business.

Musk has said Tesla it will not need to seek cash in 2018 but Wall Street analysts anticipate a capital raise this year,

Panasonic is the exclusive battery cell supplier for  Tesla's current production models, making them in Japan as well as at the US 5 billion Gigafactory.

Ito said last week at Panasonic's general share holder meeting that a pickup in production of the Model 3 has resulted in occasional battery cell shortages. [Agencies].


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