• Apr 23rd 2010 at 7:54AM
  • 19
Tesla Motors has never officially announced who supplies the lithium ion cells used in the Roadster's battery pack, but it does have an agreement with Panasonic to supply cells for the Model S. Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel was in Japan this week and received the first batch of new lithium ion cells from Panasonic Energy Company President Naoto Noguchi.

Panasonic has just inaugurated a new factory that is producing 3.1 amp-hour lithium ion cells. These 18650-format cells are the highest energy density cells currently being produced. Tesla is the only automaker that is continuing to use these commodity laptop cells. Every other automaker building electric vehicles is working with battery suppliers to produce larger-format cells.

Panasonic's factory in Suminoe, Japan has the capacity to produce 300 million cells annually. That would be enough for over 48,000 battery packs of the type used in the Roadster, each of which contain 6,183 cells. The new, higher-density cells should allow the use of smaller packs with fewer cells without sacrificing capacity.

[Source: Tesla]

PRESS RELEASE

Panasonic Presents First Electric Vehicle Battery to Tesla

SUMINOE, JAPAN, Thursday, April 22nd - Tesla officials today visited Panasonic's new Lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing facility in Suminoe, Japan. Panasonic Energy Company President Naoto Noguchi presented Tesla Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel with the first production Lithium-ion cells manufactured at the new facility.

The Suminoe factory will start producing 3.1Ah battery cells, the highest energy density cells available in the market. The facility will produce more than 300 million cells per year.

"These cutting-edge Panasonic batteries will combine with Tesla's battery pack technology to produce the highest-energy density EV battery packs in the world," said Straubel.

Yesterday, Tesla announced that for the first time Tesla Roadsters will be delivered to select customers in Japan.

Tesla has already delivered more than 1000 Roadsters to customers in North America and Europe. Tesla battery packs power the Roadster, the only highway-capable EV currently in mass production. Tesla is also in production of battery packs for the Daimler Smart EV's and in battery development programs with other vehicle and stationary customers. For next generation battery packs, Tesla and Panasonic continue to deepen their relationship to optimize EV cells initially announced in January.

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 1000 Roadsters to customers in North America and Europe. Tesla has showrooms in California's Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Boulder, South Florida, Chicago, London, Munich and Monaco. The Tesla Roadster is faster than many sports cars yet more efficient than a hybrid.


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  • 19 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      30F ant it's only 2.5Ah, 0F and they're almost dead. Yeah, electric cars are great, you can drive them in summer exclusively...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oh man, I can not wait to see the specs on the model S. Anyone wanna take a stab at the pack size? I'm going to guess 80 kWh
        • 7 Months Ago
        It's not that hard.... the Model S has an even better Cd than the Roadster. So better m/kwh at speed...

        During acceleration is where it might take a hit... but with regen braking, a heavier EV would return more energy to the pack. So it keeps things even.
        • 7 Months Ago
        Skierpage: Tesla has already made some model changes to the interior, most notably changing from a gearshift knob to a pushbutton "shift" and moving the information display to the center. Tesla also came out with a higher performance "Roadster Sport" version.

        So, yes, Tesla does have sufficient engineering talent for a "Roadster mark II", though right at the moment most of their focus is on the Model S. and setting up the factory.
        • 7 Months Ago
        Well, the 300 mile pack option will almost certainly be that size. Getting more than 4miles/kWh in a car as big as the S (even though it is nice and slippery) would be a trick.
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        It's the *combination* of drag coefficient and area (CdA) that matters. The Model S has a much greater frontal area, therefore even if its Cd is substantially lower I think it will still have greater resistance than the Roadster.

        I don't know that Tesla has spare engineering talent to put into developing a Roadster mark II, as awesome as it would be.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's funny. I thought the standard Tesla Roadster battery pack had 6831 cells.

      The Roadster goes 244 miles on the 2aH cells. I can't imagine how far it would go with the 3aH cells. That's a 50% increase in energy in the same weight and volume. (Quick math tells me 366 miles.) But on the down side it would take 50% longer to charge.
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Jason

        I believe jaartsgroup was talking about Tesla using these batteries in the Roadster, not the Model S, to either:

        Increase range at the same weight OR decrease the weight while keeping the range the same.

        Tesla has already said they plan to use "next-generation cells" in the Model S for a 300-mile battery pack and these must be those cells.
        Julian
        • 7 Months Ago
        two fantastic options exist here, option that should be on a buyers option list if you ask me.

        1. use these cells in the same arrangement as the 2aH for increase range. )any word on if these new cells are heavier?)

        2. use 2/3 the current number of cells to decrease weight (increasing efficiency and range by weight reduction, and simultaneously decreasing the number of parts required to make a pack by 2/3, cutting down manufacturing time and complexity.

        Julian Santa-Rita
        • 7 Months Ago
        @jaartsgroup

        Tesla has already said they're planning on releasing the Model S with several different battery options...so they beat you to it. ;)
      • 5 Years Ago
      I could not find a spec sheet on the 3.1 ah cell... but I did find one on the 2.9 ah cell which the 3.1 was supposedly based on.

      http://industrial.panasonic.com/www-cgi/jvcr13pz.cgi?E+BA+3+ACA4001+NCR18650+7+WW

      3.6 v @ 2.9 ah @ 45 grams = 232 wh/kg
      If the weight is about the same...

      3.6 v @ 3.1ah @ 46 grams = 242.6 wh/kg !!!
        • 7 Months Ago
        Found it...

        http://industrial.panasonic.com/www-cgi/jvcr13pz.cgi?E+BA+4+ACA4001+NCR18650A+7+WW

        3.6 v @ 3.1ah @ 46 grams = 242.6 wh/kg !!!
        • 7 Months Ago
        Very true.... one of the main reasons that most people don't know... The Tesla Roadster pack is 53kwh NOT because Tesla customers want over 200 miles. But because Tesla customers want 0-60 in 3.9 seconds.... the range is a benefit.
        • 7 Months Ago
        The good news: Even the old 2.1 Ah cells are the same weight, so a larger battery with up to 600 km range would definitely be an option for the roadster.

        The drawback: Reducing the number of cells might cause problems due to the max. allowable power output. With 185 kW a single cell is already loaded with 30 W or 8.5 A, on the Sport model even higher.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm glad to hear that they are going to offer options. I have ZERO need for a car that would go over 150 miles on a single charge so I don't want to pay for the extra batteries.

      A Roadster with these new batteries and about 35kWh would have a range of 150+miles and would weigh under 2000lbs. They could also save a good $10k on the price of the car as well at todays prices.

      Imagine the 0-60mph times on that beast...imagine the handling if you took 25% of the cars weight away...and you could lower the center of gravity by taking getting rid of the units what would have been on the top half of the old battery.

      I know they can't afford to have a different pack size shipped for every consumer's needs, but I bet they could offer three options and afford the testing: 150mile (minimalist/performance pack), 250mile "standard" pack and 350mile extended range pack.

      I bet they'd sell more of the 150mile "performance" pack than anything else.
        • 7 Months Ago
        I'm sure the pack sizes and containers are going to be customizable in the future.

        I find the picture to be striking and not a mistake.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Tesla should offer an upgrade path for existing Roadster owners, it would be a smart, profitable move for them and a popular option among current and prospect Roadster owners.

      Decoupling battery advancements from cars is the future business model for BEVs.
        • 7 Months Ago
        i think that's actually their plan, but they probably won't replace their batteries for at least 5 years or so.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Good to hear about batt improvements. Thing are look'n up folks.
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