Encouraging news for all you EV enthusiasts out there: Tesla's Model S appears to still be on track for its planned 2012 launch and will be using battery technology offering the highest energy density "in the world." Built in Panasonic's new fab in Suminoe, Japan, these 3.1Ah cells (you can just about see one of them being held by the two corporate types above) will be manufactured at a rate of more than 300 million per year. Considering each car would require a few more than 6,000 of them for its full energy storage, that means Tesla would be able to churn out about 48,000 Model S sedans per year. Then again, the company has only sold about 1,000 units of its Roadster so far, so we doubt it'll be pushing Panasonic's max production capacity any time soon. Still, good to know things are progressing in the right direction.
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Panasonic Presents First Electric Vehicle Battery to Tesla

SUMINOE, JAPAN, Thursday, April 22nd - Tesla officials today visited Panasonic's new Lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing facility in Suminoe, Japan. Panasonic Energy Company President Naoto Noguchi presented Tesla Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel with the first production Lithium-ion cells manufactured at the new facility.

The Suminoe factory will start producing 3.1Ah battery cells, the highest energy density cells available in the market. The facility will produce more than 300 million cells per year.

"These cutting-edge Panasonic batteries will combine with Tesla's battery pack technology to produce the highest-energy density EV battery packs in the world," said Straubel.

Yesterday, Tesla announced that for the first time Tesla Roadsters will be delivered to select customers in Japan.

Tesla has already delivered more than 1000 Roadsters to customers in North America and Europe. Tesla battery packs power the Roadster, the only highway-capable EV currently in mass production. Tesla is also in production of battery packs for the Daimler Smart EV's and in battery development programs with other vehicle and stationary customers. For next generation battery packs, Tesla and Panasonic continue to deepen their relationship to optimize EV cells initially announced in January.

About Tesla

Tesla's goal is to produce increasingly affordable cars to mainstream buyers – relentlessly driving down the cost of EVs. San Carlos, Calif.-based Tesla sells cars online and has delivered nearly 1000 Roadsters to customers in North America and Europe. Tesla has showrooms in California's Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Boulder, South Florida, Chicago, London, Munich and Monaco. The Tesla Roadster is faster than many sports cars yet more efficient than a hybrid.

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Panasonic's 3.1Ah batteries to be used in the Tesla Model S, have highest energy density yet