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By now we're all aware that the environmental impact of cars and trucks goes well beyond the emissions produced during operation. There is the energy used to produce and dispose of the vehicles and their components, for example, and the cost of getting the fuel for the vehicles out of the ground and into the tank. The impact of making nickel metal hydride batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) was the center-piece of a controversial study published by CNW several years ago. That study

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Norwegian electric vehicle builder Think has finally launched production of the lithium-ion battery version of its City EV. The 22 kilowatt-hour battery pack is being supplied by Indiana-based Enerdel which owns an equity stake in Think. Enerdel is now in full volume production of the new battery pack which, should allow Think to ramp up vehicle production and expand into continental Europe and then the United States later this year.

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Massachusetts-based A123 Systems has been one of the rising stars of the lithium battery field in the last several years. In spite of that, the company that was started by a team of MIT researchers has struggled to raise cash to manufacture automotive cells in the United States.

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Over the last decade, billions of consumer electronics devices have been built and powered by lithium ion batteries and cars appear to be the next big li-ion applications. Even with all the lithium ion battery production that exists today however, capacity remains nowhere near where it needs to be to power all the plug-ins that are coming. Just think of the Tesla Roadster, which relies on standard 18650 cells like those used in laptop computers. A laptop typically uses six to nine of these cells

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Automotive Energy Supply Corporation has kicked off pilot production of lithium ion batteries. For those who have not been paying enough attention, AESC is the joint venture between Nissan and NEC that is developing batteries for electric and hybrid batteries. The first AESC production line is located adjacent to Nissan's Zama Operations Center in Japan.

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By fall 2010, Hitachi plans increase its production capacity for lithium ion batteries by 600 percent in the first phase of a major expansion. Hitachi will be supplying the batteries for General Motor's second-generation mild hybrid system that debuts late next year for 2011 model year vehicles. GM has placed an order for enough cells to support 100,000 hybrid vehicles a year. Beyond that, Hitachi is planning to ramp up to build cells for 700,000 hybrids a year by 2015, a 70-fold increase from c

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South Korean battery maker LG Chem is getting prepared to supply lithium ion cells General Motors for production of the Chevrolet Volt by building a new cell manufacturing facility. The company broke ground for the new plant in Cheongwon earlier this week and the facility is expected to be running by the first half of 2010. LG Chem already has another plant in Ochang that is building similar cells for Hyundai and Kia for the new hybrid models being introduced by those companies. The Cheongwon pl

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