For the Tesla Roadster, the engineers at Tesla Motors decided to go with a batter pack made up of almost 7,000 lithium-ion cells to power the lightweight sports car. Some people approved (how can you say no to an EV that goes 0-60 in under four seconds?), and some people said the decision was a huge mistake. With about 250 Roadsters already "sold" (the car won't be available until late next year), it's obvious some people are ready to invest in this car and Tesla's Energy Storage System technology. So why should Tesla keep the technology to itself? At the EDTA show today, Kurt Kelty, Director of Energy Storage Technologies for Tesla Motors, said that he has been in talks with other companies to license the batteries to other companies.
Kelty told AutoblogGreen that he couldn't say much about Tesla's battery technology or the discussions, because everyone in the company is keeping things quiet. But he did say that to build a safe and reliable li-ion battery pack is a huge challenge, but Tesla has designed the 56 kWh, 366V li-ion pack with redundant active and passive safety features to prevent propagation of a "thermal runaway event" (often known as catching fire). Even if all active safety mechanisms malfunctioned, the thermal runaway event would be stopped by passive safety features. These features have helped the pack pass all eight UN battery tests. Currently, Tesla has 10-20 vehicles in Europe that are being crash tested with full battery packs.