Panasonic announced today that it will supply enough automotive grade lithium-ion cells to furnish 80,000 Tesla Model S electric sedans. In 2009 Panasonic entered a supply agreement with Tesla, prompting a $30 million investment by the “world’s leading battery cell manufacturer” in 2010. Now we have a figure on how many Tesla Model S vehicles will be running Panasonic batteries, and it’s enough to support production for the next four years.
“Panasonic will supply lithium ion cells for EVs that can achieve longer range with large energy density. It is our pleasure to start supplying the cells for Tesla’s Model S and promote sustainable mobility,” said Masato Ito, President, Energy Company of Panasonic Corporation.
While base model Tesla Model S electric vehicles have a 130MPC (miles per charge) range and the company’s most expensive vehicles can travel up to 240MPC with enhanced batteries, it looks as though Panasonic is determined to boost those figures significantly. 300MPC? 350MPC? Only time will tell.
More than 6,000 reserved Model S EVs will receive Panasonic’s automotive lithium-ion battery in 2012, and Tesla hopes to have all of its luxury sedans converted shortly after. Prior to the agreement with Panasonic, Tesla had been sourcing its automotive cells from various Fortune 500 companies with reputable histories. The joint venture with Panasonic will solidify Tesla’s cost and margin targets for the Model S.
Panasonic’s use of nickel-type cathode technology boasts the “highest energy density and industry-leading performance” in its class. Based on that nickel chemistry, Panasonic and Tesla worked together to formulate the new cells for its Model S car. The targets were electric vehicle quality and stamina.
So when do you think the Energizer Bunny will team up with the Chevy Volt team?