Tesla Motors, in a move which shows aggressive growth plans, inked a deal this week with Japanese giant Panasonic to expand the latter’s supply of automotive-grade lithium-ion battery cells to the electric vehicle manufacturer. This expansion targets nearly 2 billion cells over the course of four years.
Panasonic and Tesla originally partnered in 2011, and since that time drivers of Tesla’s Roadsters and Model S electric cars have logged over 130 million miles collectively. The lithium-ion battery cells purchased from Panasonic will be used to continue to power the Model S as well as Model X, a performance utility vehicle that is scheduled to go into production by the end of 2014.
The Panasonic electric vehicle batteries, unlike the garden variety ones we power small consumer electronics with, are customized and designed specifically to optimize an EV’s “quality and life,” according to the company. The cylindrical cells are integrated by Tesla into the battery pack that helps the Model S to get an average range of around 265 miles on a single charge.
Over 15,000 Tesla vehicles are on the road in 31 countries around the world, including the Netherlands and Germany, where the electric vehicle upstart is looking to go head to head with the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz.