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]


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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