The battery arm of Japan's Panasonic will need to build four more factories to reach its target for a sharp boost in annual capacity of batteries for electric vehicles by 2031, its technology chief has said.

The comments by Shoichiro Watanabe of Panasonic Energy are the Tesla supplier's first clear indication of the number of additional factories it will need.

They could also fuel expectations of more investment by Japanese companies in the United States, after the two countries struck a deal in March that is key to widening access for Japanese manufacturers to U.S. EV tax credits.