Panasonic to supply more battery cells to Tesla

Tesla Motors and Panasonic Corporation announced Wednesday that Panasonic will expand its supply of automotive-grade lithium-ion battery cells to the Palo Alto-based maker of electric cars. The deal expands a 2011 arrangement and means that Panasonic will give Tesla nearly 2 billion cells through 2017.

“This expanded agreement with Panasonic is important to Tesla as we continue to increase the pace of production,” said Tesla CEO Elon Musk. “We look forward to strengthening our relationship with Panasonic, and I’m confident that this partnership will continue to be an integral part of Tesla’s success for years to come.”

Panasonic’s cylindrical cell is integrated into the battery pack of the Model S sedan, which gets a range of roughly 265 miles. Panasonic is a stockholder of Tesla, having purchased $30.0 million of Tesla’s common stock in a private placement transaction that closed in November 2010.

Practically every company that makes a lithium-ion battery has sent its cells to Tesla, which puts them through rigorous testing, with a focus on extending their life and safety. In the cell characterization lab at Tesla’s Palo Alto headquarters, nearly 1,000 cells from various vendors are tested against one another. In other labs, battery packs are subjected to stress tests that include freezing temperatures and high humidity.

Tesla expects to deliver 21,000 Model S sedans worldwide this year.  On Thursday, the company is holding a media event at San Francisco’s Crissy Field to celebrate the completion of a West Coast Supercharger route between Vancouver and San Diego. There are now 16 Supercharging Stations along Interstate 5 and Highway 101 and 31 stations total in North America.

The base of Tesla’s Model S sedan includes the battery pack.


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  • spec9

    I love the “Skateboard” chassis design. Tesla can easily add additional body platforms (SUV, pick-up, mini-van, etc.) from that same chassis. The Model X crossover is just a modified version of the Model S.

    • Hunter3203

      GM came up with the type of design you’re talking about years ago for a fuel celled vehicle. But It don’t think that’s actually what Tesla is using. The model in the picture is a cut-away designed to show off the electrical parts of the Model S including the flat, removable battery. If you’ll look at the photo you can see part of the front frame rails that are cut off in that display model. Like virtually every car on the road today, Tesla is using a unit body construction. They are building the Model X off the Model S platform just like other automakers do with their crossover vehicles. In fact the global trend is to minimize the number of platforms that automakers use in order to gain efficiencies through greater production./.

  • kcy2014

    I don’t think that electric car technology is mature enough for primetime but I cannot deny the evidence. I’m happy that they are successful.

    • ricks

      what? I have been using a nissan leaf for 2 years, I am able to cover 95% of all trips…it is mature enough for me…yes it has it disadvantages ( minimal to me ), no oil changes, no emission test to pass, no gasoline, no sparkplugs, quit, brisk acceleration, low maintenance overall…..all it requires is a bit better planning… no sweat….I am telling you I would never buy a gas car again….

    • SmartThoughts

      So you admit that you were wrong and still are but are happy that you were wrong? Gas cars have tremendous variable costs while Teslas are mostly a fixed cost purchase. Plus Tesla are literally faster and give the driver more control than all all cars. Nothing compares to the instant direct drive acceleration away from traffic you get with electric Tesla propulsion. Gas propulsion is a true dinosaur compared to it. Don’t believe me? Go drive one. It will change your mind.

  • Aug Hki

    The Tesla Model S is over 400% more efficient to operate and maintain than other cars in its price class. The Model S technology is far more advanced than people without a Ph.d in electrical engineering would understand.

    • Hunter3203

      Such efficiency isn’t really necessary at the price point that Tesla is selling the Model S. Now that could be a very big deal if they can pull off their promised Gen III car at the $30k price point Elon Musk has mentioned.

      • SmartThoughts

        You are forgetting that each gas powered car gives you the right to waste tens of thousands more on propulsion expenses where the Model S gives you free highway travel as the propulsion expense is already priced into the car. In relation to a Tesla, a gas powered car with similar acceleration will cost the buyer an extra $30,000 dollars in fuel and maintenance expenses everyone needs to either lower the TOC price of the Tesla or raise the TOC price of the equivalent gas car substantially higher!

        • Hunter3203

          I’m not forgetting anything. I just know that fuel efficiency isn’t a concern for someone paying $100+k for a car. Just like private jets carrying just a couple of passengers are far less fuel efficient than a commercial aircraft. Because luxury buyers have the money to spend on such costs without a second thought. Now you are forgetting that the Model S is already priced higher than its competition. The Model S is closest in size and actually slightly smaller than the midsize luxury sedans like the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E Class. But the Model S costs ten of thousands more due to its more expensive EV drivetrain and battery.

      • Aug Hki

        So you are saying that if the Model S was as inefficient as a BMW 7 series, it wouldn’t make any difference to prospective customers?  95mpg versus 22mpg doesn’t matter?
        you’re  dead wrong on that. Even Tesla, on their website is using the efficiency (gas savings) to help sell the car. You’re right and Tesla is wrong? I don’t think so.
        Tesla has already done the hard work and succeeded. Incremental gains across the board are likely now for the Gen 3 now that Model S is in the marketplace. The only question I have is just how much better the Gen III will be than people expect. my belief is that Elon Musk’s statements about the Gen 3 are meant to mislead the other auto makers. It will be far better than he says and it will arrive sooner than he says.

        • Hunter3203

          Yeah that’s EXACTLY what I’m saying. People don’t buy $100+k cars based on their fuel mileage. Nor do they buy them on their ability to seat 7. That’s another thing Tesla touts on their website.
          Telsa has been late launching every car they’ve ever made, Roadster, Model S and Model X. So I think it’s very unlikely that they’ll launch the Gen III before 2016. In fact it’s likely that it will be at least 2017 before it’s launched.

          • Aug Hki

            I could easily buy 10 Tesla Model S. For cash. The efficiency of a car is very important. Wealthy people watch every dime spent and evaluate economics always. That’s how they get wealthy. Pretenders don’t watch their money. Your statement has no backing other than your lame opinion. Tesla wouldn’t barely sell a car if it was just another 22mpg dog.

          • Hunter3203

            So tell me, how is it that BMW, Audi and Mercedes generate BILLIONS in profit every year? The very people who are buying Tesla’s today have bought those cars in the past and many still have them in their garage. Garages that house more than one car btw. If efficiency and saving money were so important to the rich then the luxury industry wouldn’t exist at all. The rich would live in 3 Bedroom, 2 Bath houses like the majority of homeowners do. And they’d drive Accords, Camrys and maybe Priuses. But I think even you know that’s not the truth at all.
            Btw, for the price of a Model S you could buy an average sedan or crossover and still have money left over to pay for fuel for DECADES.

        • Chishiki

          I imagine the improvements will mostly be in manufacturing techniques to reduce cost and changing parts in a way so this can be done. There main goal in Gen 3 is price reduction which means they will probably be very small if any improvements in the other areas. I imagine some areas will actually get slightly worse like range.

  • williamftaylor

    Wait a minute…the Obama administration has spent 2.4 billion dollars on battery development and Tesla is buying from foreign competition??? Hello, wake up America!

    • sanibonani

      Why? would you prefer a monopoly? Batteries are used by not only Tesla, and they are not only Panasonic. The US HAS to do battery development, some of which will be used in applications very different from that of Tesla.



  • Mike

    Electric automobile batteries will be our next problem. The more cars produced means more batteries. So we’ll have a plethora of old batteries. As you know, even if they are recyclable or rebuilt, there is going to be an environmental problem to deal with all over again. I’d like to know the carbon footprint for these batteries with projections over the next 100 years at the same growth of gas engine autos to determine what 1 billion batteries will have in regards to manufacturing and effects the poisonous bio hazards to the environment will be.