/

Tesla chief offers to help Boeing end Dreamliner nightmare

AFP-JIJI

Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, founder of the electric carmaker Tesla and aeronautics firm SpaceX, has offered to help Boeing fix the apparent problems with the batteries in its grounded 787 Dreamliner.

Spokeswomen from both of Musk’s firms confirmed that he has reached out to Boeing, which has been struggling to address the concerns of customers and regulators following recent fire incidents that grounded the fleet.

“Elon has offered to help Boeing. Any further information about the offer will be left to Boeing and the FAA to communicate,” SpaceX spokeswoman Emily Shanklin said, confirming messages posted by Musk on Twitter.

Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel confirmed the aircraft giant was “engaged with a number of experts, both inside and outside the company, in resolving the issue and returning the 787 fleet to flight status.”

“However we are not identifying them by name publicly,” he added.

World regulators grounded all 50 operating Dreamliners after a fire aboard a parked Japan Airlines 787 on Jan. 7 and a smoking battery that forced the emergency landing of an All Nippon Airways 787 on Jan. 16.

U.S. government investigators said they could not yet explain what caused the potentially catastrophic battery meltdown.

Boeing has since halted deliveries of the 787, introduced into service in October 2011 as an ambitious energy-efficient aircraft designed with extensive use of lightweight composite materials and pioneering electrical systems.

SpaceX made headlines in October when it successfully launched an unmanned capsule to the International Space Station, marking a major leap in U.S. efforts to privatize space exploration.

Tesla markets a sports car at more than $100,000 and launched the Model S — which does not contain an internal combustion engine, just a second trunk — starting at $49,900.