“Sources” close to Panasonic have been telling the world that it has better and much cheaper batteries on tap for Tesla’s Model S sedan, to go into production in late 2011, but it may not be able to supply them before 2013-14! Nor is it clear what firm will supply the initial batteries for the car.
The story, briefly reported on Autobloggreen, confused the hell out of me, so I looked at another source on GreenBeat, which explained things as follows. Last December, Panasonic bought out Sanyo, one of the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery producers. The news is that Panasonic has found a way to bind those kinds of batteries used in personal computers to give the car greater range and (perhaps) reliability. There is some question about the latter, as the comments on the Autobloggreen story reveal. Anyhow,
the Model S will minimally require battery packs of 5,500 lithium-ion cells, capable of carrying the car 160 miles per charge, at least. Tesla says 8,000-cell upgrades will also be available to push this range to 230 or 300 miles.
Given the state of the art, that would be a tremendous accomplishment, and the batteries reputedly would cost about half what they do now.
News has also been selectively leaking about Chrysler’s presumed-dead ENVI plan, which presently includes four EVs: the Dodge Circuit (shown here), two Jeeps, and the Town & Country. At least one of these cars will go forward, said Fiat executive and Chrysler board member Alfredo Altavilla, yesterday. Of course it has to be the Dodge Circuit: Who wants an electric Town & Country or a couple of tanky Jeeps filled with batteries to schlep the kids?
Subaru is showing pictures of its gullwing hybrid AWD Tourer concept that will be seen in the flesh at the Tokyo Motor Show. The company has been working for some time on this technology, and they could sure use a follow-on to the SVX, as their image has become stodgier and stodgier.
Powered by a 2.0-liter turbo, direct-injected boxer four, the Tourer uses two electric motors, the typical (we think) l-i battery pack, and embodies some elements that may well go into production. Good. We’re waiting.
And now from China comes Green Tech, opening a $6.5 billion plant in Tunica County, Mississippi, to employ 4,500 people and produce up to 250,000 cars—three hybrids and one EV. Well, at least that’s what they are telling the press.
Owned by Chinese businessman Xiaolin “Charles” Wang, GreenTech pulled the cover off of a four-door midsize hybrid built to get 50 mpg, an all-electric car, a high-efficiency gas-powered subcompact designed to get 65 mpg, and a hybrid sports coupe that the company says will get 45 mpg and go 0-60 in less than 5.9 seconds.
We say good luck, Charles, even though you chose Harrah’s Casino for the unveiling. The Chinese grin on the sedan doesn’t look as good as the Mustang-ish sports car, but you couldn’t find a better location than Tunica County.
Battery fans: Does the Panasonic announcement really mean anything at this stage? Drop a comment on us.