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Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk is on a crusade to, among other things, rid drivers of the need to consume liquid fuel for their automotive transportation. Sounds easy, right? But it's the lithium-ion battery cell supply situation that's another story altogether. See, Tesla is ramping up production of its all-electric Model S to possibly 40,000 units by next year and will follow that up with the introduction of the Model X SUV and a yet-to-be-named cheaper (by comparison) model. Given these trends,

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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.

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Chevrolet Volt battery pack – Click above for high-res image gallery

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At the Detroit Auto Show in January, Ford announced that it would bring production of battery packs for its hybrid and plug-in vehicles in-house by 2012, in time for the launch of its next-generation models. At the time, Ford would only say that the production facility would be somewhere in southeast Michigan without giving specifics.

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At the Detroit Auto Show in January, Ford announced that it would be bringing production of battery packs for its hybrid and plug-in vehicles in-house by 2012 in time for the launch of its next generation models in 2012. At the time Ford would only say that the production facility would be somewhere in southeast Michigan without giving specifics.

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Tesla Roadster – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Tesla Roadster – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Bill Wallace showing off the Volt cell and battery pack - Click above for high-res image gallery

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In order to sell the Chevy Volt for $30,000 or less, General Motors is considering leasing the lithium-ion batteries to customers who buy the car. As AutoblogGreen points out, renting car parts is an innovative strategy to get the Volt to market in time and at the right price. Having a car payment and a battery payment, however, might not be fun for Volt owners. The upside, however, is that GM would presumably warranty the batteries for the life of the lease, easing concerns over what happens to

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