Panasonic Invests $30 Million in Tesla Motors

Tesla Motors’ stock is up on news that Japanese electronics giant Panasonic will invest $30 million in the Silicon Valley electric car manufacturer. Panasonic is a preferred supplier for the lithium cells that Tesla uses in its Roadster model, and is now almost certain to be the supplier for the upcoming Model S sedan.

According to Reuters, “This comes amid a much larger campaign by Panasonic to bolster its energy storage business and become a heavyweight player in the world of electric cars, shifting its focus away from the consumer electronics market.”

The US Government, Daimler and Toyota have also recently taken the plunge, leaving Tesla with quite a war chest. However, the company’s survival is almost entirely reliant on the success of the Model S, because the company will be halting Roadster production after 2011

Even more problematic, the Model S is not slated to arrive until 2012. During this time, several less expensive options will already be on the market, including the Nissan Leaf, the Coda, and the Chevy Volt.

It will be interesting to see if Tesla can pull it off.

Steve Puma is a sustainable business consultant and writer.Steve holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School and a BA in Computer Science from Rutgers University. You can learn more about Steve by reading his blog, or following his tweets.