Battery woes may have grounded Boeing's much-hyped 787 Dreamliner jets for now, but it's not necessarily the power supply's fault. Lithium ion battery packs can power rockets, spacecraft and dream cars--and Elon Musk, who builds all three, wants to help Boeing out. He's been talking to Boeing about SpaceX battery packs, he said this week on Twitter.
"Desire to help Boeing is real & am corresponding w 787 chief engineer," Musk wrote. He first raised the idea Jan. 18, when he told Boeing "Tesla & SpaceX are happy to help with the 787 lithium ion batteries."
How generous of him, especially after he poked fun at Boeing in a magazine profile a few months ago. SpaceX and Tesla use lithium ion packs for its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft, and the Tesla Model S--the first all-electric car to be knighted Car of the Year--does too. They are lighter and more powerful than other battery types, but can pose safety hazards in some cases, as Boeing learned to its great and lasting chagrin this month.
The global fleet of 50 Dreamliners remains grounded after incidents on two separate planes involving smoke and fire and batteries. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the incidents. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether the airline giant will listen to Musk.
I hope Boeing, by all means accepts the help of Elon Musk. I've wanted to fly on a Dreamliner since I first saw the concept renderings. Boeing needs a solution and they need it fast or else some of their customers are going to go with Airbus.
If I recall correctly, Elon was "poking fun at Boeing" likely because the CEO of Boeing's partner in ULA, Lockheed, had made public statements suggesting that ULA's new competition SpaceX was a cheaper provider of services because they were cutting corners on cost -- and reliability, to which Musk replied that they were cheaper not because they were cutting corners but because their tech was significantly advanced.
Mr. Musk should be careful about poking fun at Boeing. The Boeing corporation generates several billion dollars per year in profits. While both Tesla and SpaceX currently operate at a loss, and would be out of business without the large government subsidies they receive.
Great egotist engineers butting heads or teasing each other, what a surprise.... NOT!
Buyers should go with Airbus anyway. The Boeing CEO said he doesn't think there will be any material effect on 2013 earnings due to the 787 grounding. Really? And they continue to build a fly by wire aircraft with the traditional "Rams horn" control yoke that takes up an enormous part of the cockpit and adds unnecessary weight. Airbus has a side stick and a clean, clutter free cockpit. The 787 is a globally designed POS that might never fly again because they are too stubborn to admit they effed up in the battery design. Who knows what else they effed up. They used to say "If it ain't Boeing, I ain't going". Suddenly they now say "If it's a Boeing, I ain't going". There is a good reason for that change.