Can Tesla Fix Boeing's Battery Problem?

Elon Musk has offered to help Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) fix the battery issues facing the 787 Dreamliner. It's a strange pairing, the CEO of an auto company and an aviation giant, but it may not be as crazy as it seems on the surface. 

Tesla to the rescue
Why would Musk offer Tesla Motors' (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) expertise to Boeing? The answer is simple -- publicity. 

If the relatively tiny Tesla can even be associated with the fix of Boeing's battery issues it would be a public relations coup for Musk. But for Boeing, he may be able to offer some real solutions

Tesla went through years of challenges designing the battery pack that would power both the Tesla Roadster and the Model S. The automobile may be the most demanding use of a large lithium-ion battery pack in the world, the same technology Boeing is using. 

Musk decided to use a standard "18650" cell, like the ones used in consumer electronics, instead of the large format cells used by the Nissan LEAF and other electric vehicles. But look at the success of Tesla's vehicles and it's easy to argue that Musk made the right decision. Maybe he can offer some insight to Boeing?

Tesla also has seemed to have mastered the control system driving the electric battery. After battery maker GS Yuasa Corp. was cleared by regulators yesterday, the control system has become the focus of the investigation. 

Tesla and Musk learned a lot about lithium-ion batteries in developing vehicles, but they also relied on battery partners who would be able to help Boeing. Panasonic (NASDAQOTH: PCRFY  ) got the contract to build cells for Tesla vehicles and could be a key resource as well. 

All the help it can get
Boeing has had years to get the 787 Dreamliner right and this battery problem has left its entire fleet grounded, costing an estimated $550 million. Musk says he's talked to the lead engineer about lending a hand. Right now, Boeing needs all the help it can get. 

Boeing's execution problems and emerging competitors have investors wondering whether it will live up to its shareholder responsibilities. In this premium research report, two of The Motley Fool's best minds on industrials have collaborated to provide investors with the must-know issues around Boeing. They'll be updating the report as key news hits, so make sure to claim a copy today by clicking here now.


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  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2013, at 10:34 AM, Y2KPONY13 wrote:

    Sure Elon can fix Boeing's problems... He can't even fix his own problems with his Tesla "Bricks" (Roadsters). You go, Elon... Solve your own PR nightmares first (without bashing your whistleblower) before being an a-hole and bad-mouthing the competition.

  • Report this Comment On February 04, 2013, at 2:19 PM, JensenJoe wrote:

    I have a lot of faith with Mr. Elon Musk, I think he has waved his wand and did some magic that no other electric car company has tried and failed. His Model S is not only beautiful, not only the 2013 car of the year in Motor Trend magazine, not only has the Model X and the Model S reached almost 300 miles on a single charge, but people are in line to buy them. After some folks have driven one, they say WOW, and have to put up 5K and wait for a least one year to get one. It beat out the Lexus LS 400 and other luxury models on the market, and with zero emissions, I would say that's a success story wouldn't you?

    Oh yeah let's not forget Solar City that has also been a success in the market, along with his rocket motor that NASA is using, and he is only getting started.

    I would just stay out of his way, and If Boeing turns him down, that's their mistake.

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