Two years ago, it looked like Mitsubishi was ready to have a noticeable presence in plug-in electric vehicles. After all, the all-electric i (also known as the i-MiEV in Japan, where it has been sold since 2009) was considered cute and fun to drive. It wasn't cheap, but at that time it was priced lower than the Nissan Leaf and qualified for incentives. The Japanese automaker said it had big plans in store for more electrified offerings, starting with a plug-in hybrid variation of its Outlander c
Electric motorcycle maker Brammo Motorsports took a hit over the weekend – a fire at its Ashland, OR, facility caused more than $200,000 in damage. Thankfully, this incident won't slow down business, according to the company's director of marketing, Adrian Stewart, who added that the fire had no impact on Brammo's production or distribution process.
Work is continuing on IBM's wish-we-had-it-now lithium-air battery technology. Today, IBM is announcing that two new partners – Asahi Kasei and Central Glass – are joining the Battery 500 Project team. The idea, as the number suggests, is to develop a battery for passenger cars that can provide enough energy to go 500 miles. The secret? Energy pulled from thin air.
During one of the sessions at the Electric Drive Transportation Association meeting here alongside the Washington Auto Show, our friend Felix Kramer from CalCars got an answer to a question that's been on his mind for a while: just how much will large-format lithium-ion batteries cost in five or ten years?
Late last year, Daimler AG announced that it would partner with Evonik for the development and manufacturing of automotive lithium ion batteries. Daimler bought half of Evonik's LiTec battery unit at that time. Now, Daimler is looking to bring in another partner for the project. At this time, its not clear if that would be a partner on the battery side to bring in more technology, or a partner to consume batteries and help spread the development costs.
Nissan and NEC are apparently seeing a lot of potential for their lithium battery joint venture. The Japanese Nikkei is reporting that Automotive Energy Supply Corp. will spend upwards of $1.1 billion on production facilities for lithium ion batteries to be used in hybrid and electric vehicles. The original production plan for 13,000 units in 2010 and 65,000 in 2011 has apparently been pulled ahead a year. The 2011 target is now for 200,000 batteries a year.
It's looking increasingly likely that plug-in vehicles will not entirely bring America energy independence, at least not in terms of energy storage. The fact that American business over the last couple of years seems to have largely given up on manufacturing in favor of being a service economy means that we will continue to depend on the likes of Japan and China for our battery needs. The latest company to chase the potential bonanza represented by plug-in vehicles is Toshiba. The consumer elect
Battery-powered cars have a lot to recommend them, but they still have one major flaw - the batteries! Compared to almost any other energy storage solution, even the best of today's electrochemical batteries still have very low energy density and very high cost. Every major car manufacturer is pursuing electrically-driven vehicles with lithium ion batteries as a solution to the problem of CO2 emissions and oil consumption. They all are aware of the fact that virtually all of these cars will be m