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

Safety is a common concern as the automotive industry moves towards electric vehicles. In particular, focusing on the potential risks involved with li-ion battery technology is crucial as automakers move away from NiMH packs and towards li-ion storage.

We know that General Motors has the largest battery lab in the world, one that's capable of carrying out all kinds of scientific tests, but that's a little boring, if you ask us. If you want to test a battery's durability, do you really need fancy lab equipment and sophisticated computers? Or can you just use a few household items, a swimming pool, bullets and a lot of time? Maybe it's time to ditch the lab coats, fire up the oven and learn how battery testing is really done.

Electric vehicle batteries don't last forever. Sure, they can be charged up, drained and charged again, but at some point they just won't get the job done anymore. Automakers estimate that advanced batteries will provide about ten years of serviceable life in vehicles. So what happens to that hunk of lithium in your vehicle after it's retired from the intended duties? It gets a second chance in one of several industries lining up to spring new life into that old battery.

Th!nk City - Click above for high-res image gallery

A group of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been focusing their efforts on advanced technology batteries for electric vehicles. Their work on lithium-air batteries has led to several recent discoveries, and gives "riding on air" a whole new meaning.

General Motors realizes that it will need to get the cost of its Voltec drivetrain down in order to stay competitive and allow it to more easily be integrated into other, differently-sized vehicles. Since the battery is the most expensive part of the system, that's where the focus on cost-cutting will go. Among the approaches GM will take for the third generation of the pack, according to the head of its Opel/Vauxhall operations Nick Reilly, is the use of a smaller battery that will not have the

Research study says EVs have a tough road ahead

2010 Nissan Leaf EV - Click above for high-res image gallery

2011 Chevy Volt - Click above for high-res gallery

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