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Lithium Car Batteries: not ready for prime time



February 13, 2009 – Comments (3)

I was intrigued by a Fool article describing an initiative to create a lithium car battery factory here in the U.S.; the summary was to invest in MMM, one of the participating companies thereof. So, I did a lazy google search: I was not encouraged by what I found.

1) there are many problems: cost, durability, cost, size, cost, cruising range, cost, safety, cost (BTW-did I mention cost?).

2) there are many players, and choosing a winner is not easy. Many car manufactures seem to be going ahead and announcing partnerships with various battery makers who still need to improve their product. Just because a partnership and factory building has been announced is no guarantee that the anticipated product will materialize. Humbly suggest you keep your powder dry on this one. FWIW, these are my notes on what I found:

 hitachi/maxell (nanowire)

toshiba + vw (super charge ion battery)

johnson controls + saft = mb & ford

panasonic + toyota (current leader in lithium battery)

lg + chevy volt (large electronics manufacturer)

ener1 (prismatic) + itochu (windmills) + enertech (lithium polymer)

a123 + chevy volt (nanophosphate)

imara nee lion

sakti3 + chevy volt (michigan startup)

advanced battery technologies ABAT + motorcycle (lithium polymer)

3m + johnson controls + enersys + fmc + actacell + 9 others = National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Battery Cell Manufacture

argonne + toda kogyo (LiMn)

valence technologies (LiFePo)   

3 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On February 13, 2009 at 11:02 PM, ajm101 (< 20) wrote:

great summary of the battery landscape, thank you!

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#2) On February 13, 2009 at 11:13 PM, uclayoda87 (28.73) wrote:

If you believe that a Li battery solution will be found, there is no need to pick a winner, just invest in SQM, which mines most of the world supply of Li.  SQM will benefit from the increased business (a small percent of their current business) and the expected rise in the commodity price.


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#3) On February 14, 2009 at 12:09 AM, devoish (70.13) wrote:

Yuasa has teamed with Honda to form a new company to develop lithium. I do not know the name.

Sanyo with Nickel/metal (not lithium) with Honda Ford and VW

same stage as the ones you have

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