Elon Musk: I can fix Boeing's battery problem
By Eric Mack
March 11, 2013
Elon Musk says he's still waiting for a call from Boeing to fix the jumbo jet maker's overheating Dreamliner battery problem. For the past few months, Boeing's 787 fleet has been grounded in the United States following a lithium-ion battery that caught fire in flight. The National Transportation Safety Board was unable to determine the cause of the fire, but the Tesla and SpaceX CEO says the problem is clear to him, and he's willing to "do the fix" for Boeing.
Musk first made his desire to help his competitor in the commercial space race known on Twitter in January, and over the weekend during his keynote at the South By Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas, he said he's still waiting for Boeing to respond to his offer.
Musk told the audience he was sincere in his offer of assistance and didn't mean it as an attack on Boeing. In fact, what followed was a brief primer a la Musk on lithium battery technology that sounded more like a sales pitch from a guy who would be happy to ink a new contract with a major manufacturer.
Musk says that Boeing outsourced the battery for the 787, and that the company that received the battery contract from Boeing also outsourced the job, and so on, resulting in what Musk called "nested outsourcing," which "resulted, I think, in a breakdown in communication."
As for the physical cause of the battery meltdown, Musk claimed that the cells used in the 787 are too big and that the gaps between them are not big enough, creating a cascading overheating effect that led to the fire.
"We're still happy to help them with the fix, or just do it for them," Musk reiterated in front of a capacity crowd in Austin's Convention Center.