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The battery pack powering the Tesla Model S down the road will reportedly be supplied by Panasonic. Greentech Media broke the news after talking to "sources close to the Japanese electronics maker." Tesla had no comment.

Earlier this week, Panasonic said it had developed a cheaper way to string small laptop batteries together to provide enough power for an automobile. Currently, the Tesla Roadster uses 6,831 small cells (like those used in portable computers) in its battery pack. The Model S is expected to use three different packs, with either 5,500 cells (in the version that gives the car a range of 160 miles) or 8,000 cells (for ranges of 220 or 300 miles; better chemistry in the longer pack makes the difference).

The Model S is expected to go into production in late 2011. Panasonic said its cheaper packs could enter commercial production in 2013.

Related GalleryTesla Model S in motion
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[Source: Greentech Media, Green Car Advisor]