Tesla and Panasonic team up for battery development

Tesla Motors and Panasonic have agreed to collaborate on developing next-generation battery cells for electric vehicles.

The car-maker will use Panasonic's battery cells in its newest battery packs. The cells use nickel-based lithium-ion chemistry, and are favoured 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 us 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 optimised for use in EVs."

Panasonic is a global leader in lithium-ion cell technology, and is midway through a three-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.

The new cell will be compatible with other cell form factors, in line with Tesla's strategy of using cells from multiple suppliers.

While most production electric vehicles are intended for short-range urban use, Tesla has already delivered more than 900 'highway-capable' cars to customers in North America and Europe. The company is currently showing its 1000th production vehicle, a special-edition Roadster Sport, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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