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Tesla vs. Panasonic: Who Deserves Credit For the Batteries?

Discussion in 'Tesla, Inc.' started by ZeApelido, Jul 5, 2017.

  1. ZeApelido

    ZeApelido Member

    Jun 1, 2016
    The Peninsula, CA
    I am familiar with some folks to converse with some people in Panasonic upper management - they seem to boast they are leading most of the technology behind the batteries going into Tesla products. Obviously they are a big contributor in both technology and investment in the Gigafactory, so what is Tesla's contribution? I assume Tesla has contributed to some innovation to the batteries, but I'm not sure who's done what.
    • Like x 2
  2. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

    Feb 3, 2015
    Good question. I'll wager there has been good work by both. They both appear quite satisfied with each other, which argues for mutual support. Jeff dawn is contracted to Tesla and JB has made a good many battery pronouncements. I'll speculate that Panasonic is devoted to cell production technology and Tesla more oriented to battery pack and BMS issues, while they probably both have a fair amount of chemistry and performance contributions.

    Some years back Tesla seemed to be the preeminent BMS expert, with cell-level QC,monitoring and history. Nothing makes me think they are anything else today. Nobody else has produced the volumes of cells that Panasonic has done.

    I really would like to know the answers to your question.
    • Like x 2
  3. Fallenone

    Fallenone Active Member

    Oct 13, 2015
    Reno, NV
    On the cell level, I would say at least for the 18650, Panasonic deserves most of the credits. Tesla's % contribution to the 2170 should be higher.

    On pack level, I think it's mostly Tesla.
    • Like x 2
  4. AEdennis

    AEdennis Active Member

    Jul 23, 2013
    That's a great way to sum it up @Fallenone.

    I was going to say that considering how vertically integrated Tesla is. To have a supplier like Panasonic continue to be a partner wi Tesla as long as they've been is a testament to their bonds as organizations.
  5. SageBrush

    SageBrush 2018: Drain the Sewer

    May 7, 2015
    I may be wrong, but I have the impression that Tesla IP does not propagate outside of the partnership while Panasonic IP does and is non-exclusive. This implies that to the extent that Panasonic OEM battery products are inferior to Tesla, the difference is Tesla IP.
  6. techmaven

    techmaven Active Member

    Feb 27, 2013
    I would assume almost all at the cell level is Panasonic. Tesla makes some minor adjustments and selects the Panasonic technologies. The pack integration is all Tesla, which includes the module level and the battery management system. And the choice of using this particular chemistry supplied by Panasonic is on Tesla. Other automakers are unwilling thus far to make the same choices as Tesla at cell and at the pack level for a variety of reasons. And they likely will continue to avoid Tesla's choices in the foreseeable future, hoping that cell level advancements will negate the need to do what Tesla does at the pack level in order to mitigate the issues at the cell level.
  7. ElectricTundra

    ElectricTundra P85D AP1

    Feb 5, 2015
    #7 ElectricTundra, Jul 7, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017
    My understanding from folks at 3M who worked with Jeff Dahn's group @ Dalhousie... 18650 was primarily Panasonic (and others as it's fairly standardized) though Tesla made some changes to the chemistry. Some of these changes likely go back to around 2004.

    2170 was a joint effort. Development was led by Tesla but had input from both. Tesla likely had more input on size, stack, and chemistry while Panasonic likely had greatest input on manufacturability.

    Pack and BMS design has been led by Tesla with a lot of input from Panasonic.

    As to credit. Neither entity, unless you include Dahn, can claim credit for Li-ion. Panasonic did advance Li-ion and some of that may be why Tesla choose Panasonic to work with though it also could have been that Panasonic appeared the easiest to work with. Tesla likely deserves credit for the idea of using these cells in a car, some chemistry changes, and development of the packs & BMS? My guess is that Tesla also deserves credit for the 2170 though its design had input from a lot of individuals from Tesla, Panasonic, Dalhousie, 3M, and elsewhere.

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