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The automotive li-ion battery world got a little cozier today, with the news that Continental has purchased a 16 percent stake in the Japanese "battery specialist" (Automotive News Europe's words) Enax. ANE says that the two companies will together develop "high storage batteries for automotive use." The company's official announcement on the new partnership says those batteries will be "lithium-ion cells especially for future hybrid and electric drives in automobiles" that will be safer, have a

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A little over ten days ago, GM's Bob Lutz told us that the Chevy Volt would not be ready for media drives until July. While that announcement was slightly newsworthy because it signaled a small delay/shifting of the timeline. Whatever. The news that the lithium-ion-powered mules would still be on track to be driven at all was a good sign. Lutz has now confirmed to Reuters that those rides are still scheduled for July but then announced a delay of a different kind.

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A few days a potentially big story broke as a result of an interview that BusinessWeek did with Continental North America CEO Bill Kozyra. In that interview, Kozyra is quoted as saying that the battery packs for the Chevy Volt would be production by late 2009. He is also quoted as saying the batteries would be in the Chevy Volt in late 2009. This of course got Volt fan's hearts all aflutter with the thought that they might be able to buy a Volt at least a year sooner than previously thought. Wel

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Recently Bill Kozyra, the CEO of Continental Automotive Systems - North America, had a chat with BusinessWeek where he revealed some interesting information about the Chevy Volt. Continental has gotten into the battery business recently and will be supplying lithium ion batteries to Mercedes-Benz for their mild hybrid system beginning in 2009. The company is also partnered with A123 Systems as the pack integrator for A123 cells for the Chevy Volt.

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