Panasonic Batteries + Tesla Model S Sedan = Still Awesome?

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Tesla’s Roadster is one of the sexiest electric cars on the road, and their new sedan looks pretty sweet, too. Not only does it seat up to 7, there’s also a performance model available (0-60 in 4.5 seconds!). Helping keep costs down so more of us can ride in this sweet silent sedan is Panasonic, providing the lithium-ion battery cells.

Both companies say that the agreement will help Tesla meet its costs and margin targets for the Model S, according to a statement released Tuesday. As the base model is priced at $57,400 (before the applicable federal tax credit, which is $7,500 and any other incentives), it’s anyone’s guess what that margin is. The Roadster, in comparison, costs upwards of $109,000 (presumably using the same type of batteries, but hey, it’s a sports car).

Panasonic’s involvement with Tesla is nothing new; they’ve been providing batteries since 2009 (for the Roadster – what else?), and in 2010, Panasonic made a $30 million investment to “deepen the partnership and foster the growth of the electric vehicle industry.” The continued association is welcome for Tesla; co-founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk called it an “endorsement of our technology.”

Enough batteries for 80,000 Model S vehicles will be supplied by Panasonic over the next four years, including the 6,000 preorders in 2012. However, given the increasing number of EVs entering the market and the amount of research going into EV battery technology, both Tesla and Panasonic have their work cut out for them to stay competitive.

Source: Reuters | Picture: Tesla Motors

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