Tesla CEO Musk Offers Assistance to Boeing On 787 Dreamliner Lithium-Ion Battery Issues


Tesla’s Elon Musk knows flight almost as well as he understands electric vehicle and since both can now operate with lithium-ion batteries, Musk feels he’s the man to call upon when assistance is needed.

In a January 26 tweet on Twitter, Musk told the world that he was in talks with the chief engineer of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, which regulators have grounded indefinitely after battery meltdowns.

“Desire to help Boeing is real & am corresponding w 787 chief engineer,” Musk tweeted

Musk, who is CEO of both SpaceX, and Tesla, seems eager to help Boeing, perhaps even by offering up his firms’ lithium-ion battery technology and expertise.

Musk offers help to Boeing on battery issues.

Musk offers help to Boeing on battery issues.

On January 18, Musk tweeted, “Maybe already under control, but Tesla & SpaceX are happy to help with the 787 lithium ion batteries.”

US and Japanese authorities are investigating meltdown/fire incidents with lithium-ion batteries on two Dreamliners in recent weeks.

The 50 Dreamliners in service are grounded until the US Federal Aviation Administration is convinced that the battery issue is resolved.  Intensive testing is currently underway.

Musk told Reuters:

“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.”

The battery chemistry used by Boeing is not the same as what’s found in the Tesla Model S.  In fact, few electric vehicles use a chemistry similar to what’s utilized in the 787 Dreamliners.  GS Yuasa supplies a cobalt oxide (CoO2) based battery to Boeing for use in the 787.


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4 Comments on "Tesla CEO Musk Offers Assistance to Boeing On 787 Dreamliner Lithium-Ion Battery Issues"

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Good article. I think some or all of the Roadsters have Co chemistry. I’m wondering if the batteries in the 787 are going “brick” somehow. Is it possible that , if operators don’t have the 787 plugged in, that they could drain the battery and then when trying to charge back up the batteries overheat.?

Article this AM in NYT saying that JAL replaced the batteries 10 times before the last incident before the grounding.
article quote:
“In five of the 10 replacements, All Nippon said that the main battery had showed an unexpectedly low charge. ”

The savvy readers of this blog will understand the differences between the 787 batteries and car batteries, but many potential customers won’t. Any issue any battery has increases distrust and discomfort with the new technology generally. The sooner this hiccup is sorted, the better for everyone. And if Mr. Musk can push that process faster, thanks very much!

CNN sounded much like Faux News the other day. There was a reporter
bloviating at length re: lithium batteries in front of a background shot of
the fried lithium box used on the 787. Surely, as he wrapped up his
report, he couldn’t resist stating – “These lithium ion batteries are of
the type that are used in the Chevy Volt” – !!!!



Methinks what with the bugaboos appearing in the model S at this relatively late date, (see GreenCarReports.com for some of them), and some Tesla S new owners amazingly regretting the purchase (!), Mr. Musk would do well to stick to his knitting. Some of the problems I have with my 2011 Roadster 2.5. Its high time they get addressed. Maybe he thinks things aren’t noticed. Well, Some of us notice. I was going to reserve a Model S, but due to ‘sensed inflexibility’, even moreso than with the Roadster, I declined. Its looking like a wiser decision every day.