Electric carmaker Tesla Motors and electronics giant Panasonic have announced that they will be collaborating on development of next-generation battery cells for electric vehicles. Tesla Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel says “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’s nickel-based lithium-ion battery cells will be included in Tesla’s newest battery packs, due to their high capacity, light weight, durability and long life. According to Panasonic, they are the highest energy density battery cells currently in production.
Panasonic is currently in the midst of a three-year $US1 billion investment in research, development and production of lithium-ion battery cells. On its corporate website, the company states “Rising environmental concerns call for widespread practical use of renewable energy and electric vehicles to reduce CO2 emissions. To realize this, high-capacity storage systems are essential. Because lithium-ion based storage systems are more compact and lighter than conventional storage systems using other types of rechargeable battery cells, high hopes are placed on the practical application of lithium-ion storage systems.”
Panasonic’s new Tesla-bound cells will be compatible with other cell formats, allowing Tesla to continue its current practice of combining cells from multiple suppliers within its battery packs. Even with its current pack, a Tesla Roadster can already travel an estimated 244 miles on one $US5 charge.