There are already lithium-ion batteries in some Toyota vehicles (the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, the RAV4 EV and the European Prius+, for example), but the company's standard bearer – the non-plug Prius hybrid – still relies on nickel metal hydride (NiMH) cells. But, the future belongs to li-ion, and that's why Toyota will soon increase its production of the higher-energy-density batteries sixfold with an eye to putting them into the Prius at an unspecified point in the future, according t
Toyota has never been a big fan of lithium ion batteries, and has a plan in place to replace them with solid-state batteries that are three-to-four times more powerful. Toyota will commercialize solid-state batteries around 2020 and lithium air batteries – which offer a fivefold increase for the same weight – could follow several years later, said Shigeki Suzuki, managing officer for material engineering. Suzuki didn't offer details on a rollout plan or vehicle volumes.
After offering to help Boeing with its lithium-ion battery problems, Elon Musk is somewhat raising the stakes. Musk, who heads both Tesla Motors and space exploration company SpaceX, has now called the batteries in the Boeing 787 "inherently unsafe" in an e-mail to trade publication Flightglobal.
The Detroit News reports that China's Wanxiang Group Corporation will acquire almost all of bankrupt A123 Systems Inc. for $256 million. The deal includes all of the American battery manufacturer's grid and commercial business assets as well as the company's facilities in Michigan, Massachusetts and Missouri. Meanwhile, Woodridge, Illinois-based Navitas Systems will purchase all of A123 Systems' government contracts for $2.25 million.
Automotive News reports A123 Systems, an electric vehicle battery manufacturer, received a disbursement check from the federal government on the same day the company filed for bankruptcy. On Oct. 16, A123 received $946,830 as the latest portion of a clean energy grant from the US Department of Energy. That was the same day A123 Systems filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection following a failed attempt to secure funding from Chinese parts supplier Wanxiang Group. Of the original grant, $115.8
Thomas Edison famously said that genius was one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. To get to the heart of what's holding back broader adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), though, it's even better to paraphrase one-time Bill Clinton advisor James Carville: "It's the battery, stupid."
Until another element is preferred or discovered, lithium will be the foundation for electric and hybrid vehicle batteries for the foreseeable future. It is an expensive part of the battery packs being installed and is keeping sticker prices fairly high. The price of lithium, the lightest metal, has jumped 35 percent in the past 18 months, according to Jonathan Lee, an analyst at Byron Capital Markets in Toronto.
The cost for lithium-ion batteries used in electric-drive vehicles will fall by about a third between now and 2017 as battery-production technology improves, lithium supply increases and battery packs are sold in higher volumes, green-technology research firm Pike Research said in a report released this week.
Better Place, the Silicon Valley company founded by former high-tech executive and Israel native Shai Agassi in 2007, has delivered the first 100 electric cars to Israeli customers. After years of tests and trial programs, the deliveries mark a big step in the company's efforts to build out an electric-vehicle charging and battery-exchanging network throughout the country.
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