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While Tesla Motors still won't say they will be putting Panasonic cells in the Model S battery packs (come on guys, 'fess up!), they have announced they are working with the Japanese mega-corp. In a new press release, the two companies divulged that they will "collaborate to develop next-generation battery cells for electric vehicles." Unlike many other companies with electric vehicles that will be powered by prismatic (flat, rectangular-shaped) cells, Tesla uses the 18650 format found in most laptops and since Panasonic also seems to have this preference, it seems natural for the two to develop a working relationship. The relationship is an open one since Tesla declares itself steadfastly supplier-agnostic and the company formerly known as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd also has many other customers.

Says JB Straubel, Tesla's Chief Technology Officer, of the fraternization, "Our collaboration with Panasonic will accelerate the development of next generation EV cells, enabling Tesla to further improve our battery pack performance," For its part, Panasonic sees the consociation as a validation of their nickel-based chemistry and its ongoing research and development investment in the energy storage area. Press release awaits you after the break.

[Source: Tesla Motors]

PRESS RELEASE

Tesla and Panasonic Collaborate to Develop Next-Generation Battery Cell Technology

SAN CARLOS, Calif. - (Business Wire) Tesla Motors and Panasonic today announced that they will collaborate to develop next-generation battery cells for electric vehicles.

Tesla, the only carmaker producing highway-capable electric vehicles, will use Panasonic's battery cells in their newest battery packs. The cells are comprised of Nickel-based Lithium ion chemistry, the highest energy density battery cells in production today, preferred by Tesla for EV applications because of their high capacity, light weight, durability, and long life.

"Our collaboration with Panasonic will accelerate the development of next generation EV cells, enabling Tesla to further improve our battery pack performance," said JB Straubel, Tesla's Chief Technology Officer. "Combining Tesla's rigorous cell testing and understanding of EV requirements with Panasonic's cutting-edge battery technology will result in custom cells optimized for use in EVs."

Panasonic is the world's leading battery cell manufacturer and a diverse supplier to the global automotive industry.

"Being selected by Tesla to provide cells for their current and next- generation EV battery pack is a tremendous validation of Panasonic's nickel-based chemistry and the extensive investments Panasonic continues to make in lithium ion R&D and production," said Naoto Noguchi, President of Panasonic Energy Company.

Panasonic is one of the world's largest producers of Lithium-ion battery cells. Furthermore, Panasonic is the global leader in lithium-ion cell technology, and is midway through a 3-year USD$1 billion investment in lithium-ion battery cell R&D and production facilities. The first of the new facilities in Suminoe, Japan will begin production in April 2010.

Tesla's current battery strategy incorporates proprietary packaging using cells from multiple battery suppliers. This new cell will also be compatible with other cell form factors to enable the continuation of Tesla's strategy of using cells from multiple suppliers. Tesla has already delivered more than 900 cars to customers in North America and Europe.

About Tesla

Tesla's goal is to produce increasingly affordable cars to mainstream buyers – relentlessly driving down the cost of EVs. San Carlos, Calif.-based Tesla sells cars online and has delivered nearly 900 Roadsters to customers in North America and Europe. In addition to South Florida, Tesla has showrooms in California's Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Boulder, London Munich and Monaco.

The Tesla Roadster is faster than an Audi R8 yet is six times as efficient as conventional sports cars. With an EPA-estimated range of 244 miles per charge, it costs less than $5 to charge.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 6 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Fess up to what exactly? They've already mentioned that their strategy is to not depend on a single battery supplier:

      "Tesla’s current battery strategy incorporates proprietary packaging using cells from multiple battery suppliers."

      source --> http://electric-vehicles-cars-bikes.blogspot.com/2010/01/tesla-and-panasonic-collaborate-to.html

      Apple does the same thing ffor the iPhone and iPod Touch. This gives them the flexibility to change suppliers and reduce cost without impacting the design.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is it just me or do cylindrical cells seem like they would be easier to cool than prismatic cells based on the fact that they don't stack correctly, or am i just imagining things?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hmm... Interesting. Thanks for the heads up!
        • 5 Years Ago
        You can cool non-cylindrical shapes just fine, but making cylinders use space efficiently is difficult. They have 21% less volume than a cube with the same outside dimensions. Surface area per volume is identical, meaning, cooling ability could potentially be equal if it needed to be, but do you really need to cool all sides? If the answer is no, and you could get away with only cooling one or two sides, the rectangular shapes get the win, because the dimensions of the entire package shrink, saving materials, thereby cost and weight. Cylinders are popular because they're easy to make.
        • 5 Years Ago
        A single cylinder might be more efficient at shedding heat because it can radiate heat out to 360 degrees, but when you begin packing many cylinders together, that 360 degree radiation becomes a problem.

        Prismatic cells can radiate in specific directions, preferably along flat planes, which makes it easier to design a cooling system to pull heat in a certain direction. It's also easier to package a prismatic cell in an awkward space, specifically, along a flat floor or bulkhead.

        "Traditional cylindrical batteries that look much like the familiar flashlight D cells - and that are used by Tesla - are not ideal for high-volume mainstream vehicles because they are harder to cool, said Gary Henriksen, Manger of Electrochemical Energy Storage Research for Argonne Natl. Labs."

        "Lithium Battery Bonanza" Dan Carney. Automotive Engineering International, Dec. 2009
      • 5 Years Ago
      Vanadium batteries are going to show up in 2010 in all the eCars from China's biggest (the world's biggest) eCar manufacturer, BYD. Run by China's richest man and backed by $230M from Buffett, this vanadium battery is 5 times more powerful and 5 times the range of today's best lithium ion batteries.

      Read about it here: http://bit.ly/OMPL5