Those who believe that nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) batteries are best used in hybrids and should be kept away from plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles may be sorely mistaken. That's because one company is looking to improve them enough to be used in those plug-in vehicles. BASF is working on improving NiMH battery technology so that their energy density rises by a power of ten and production cost drops to less than $150-per-kilowatt-hour. That would make them cheaper to make than lithium-ion batteries, according to Technology Review.

NiMH batteries have two distinct advantages over the lithium-ion batteries more commonly used for plug-in vehicles. NiMH batteries degrade at a slower rate, and, while they're heavier, they're also less likely to leak in the event of an accident.

Meantime, Robert Bosch GmbH Chairman Volkmar Denner is giving green-car advocates a little more hope by estimating that about 15 percent of new cars will have some sort of powertrain electrification by 2025, according to Hybrid Cars. Part of the reason is that batteries will be developed to quadruple their energy density per dollar. SUVs represent a sector where powertrain electrification is about to become far more prevalent, he said.

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