Tesla CEO extends help to Boeing on battery issue

Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:47am EST
 

By Deepa Seetharaman

DETROIT (Reuters) - Elon Musk has long considered Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O: Quote) the bold, nimble answer to the auto industry's cautious culture. Now the electric car maker's top executive has extended his help to another industrial giant: Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote).

In a January 26 message on Twitter, Musk said he was in talks with the chief engineer of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner plane, which regulators have grounded indefinitely after a string of malfunctions ranging from fuel leaks to battery meltdowns.

"Desire to help Boeing is real & am corresponding w 787 chief engineer," Musk wrote on the social media website.

Musk, who is also the CEO of space transport company SpaceX, told Reuters in an email late on Monday that SpaceX battery packs could be helpful for Boeing.

"We fly high capacity lithium ion battery packs in our rockets and spacecraft, which are subject to much higher loads than commercial aircraft and have to function all the way from sea level air pressure to vacuum. We have never had a fire in any production battery pack at either Tesla or SpaceX," Musk said in the email.

Boeing declined to comment or confirm if such discussions were taking place.

Boeing's chief 787 engineer, Mike Sinnett, has recently made presentations about the plane and its battery technology to reporters and industry leaders.

Musk's post came a week after his first dispatch to Boeing on January 18: "Maybe already under control, but Tesla & SpaceX are happy to help with the 787 lithium ion batteries."   Continued...

 
Tesla Chief Executive Office Elon Musk celebrates at his company's factory in Fremont, California, June 22, 2012, as the car company began delivering its Model S electric sedan. REUTERS/Noah Berger