Tesla Execs Visit Panasonic Battery Plant

Officials from the electric car company visited a Panasonic plant in Japan that will make more than 300 million lithium-ion battery cells per year and serve as a Tesla supplier.

DETROIT (AP) -- An official at a Panasonic Energy Co. plant in Japan on Thursday presented a top Tesla Motors executive with the first lithium-ion battery cells made at the new factory.

Tesla Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel and other executives from the San Carlos, California, electric car company visited the Panasonic plant in Suminoe, Japan. The factory will make more than 300 million battery cells per year and serve as a Tesla supplier.

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

Tesla announced Wednesday that its Roadster model will be available to selected customers in Japan.

The company said it has delivered more than 1,000 two-seat Roadsters to customers in North America. The car costs about $101,500.

The company also plans to produce the Model S sedan, which could travel as far as 300 miles on a single charge. It is slated to go into production by late 2011 with a base price of $57,400.

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