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Improved Battery Technology Swings Plug-in Equation

Tesla Motors technology chief JB Straubel forecasts more electric-vehicle popularity from declining costs.

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A paper by a couple of Swedish researchers figures that the price-per-kWh for lithium-ion battery packs is now $410, down from more than $1,000 in 2007. Economies-of-scale, not chemistry advances, will do the most to get that down to $230 by 2018.

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Plug-in Vehicle Premium Price Over Conventional Cars Shrinks

Lithium-ion battery costs fell 14 percent a year between 2007 and 2014, study says.

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South Korean Company to Officially Be World's Largest Auto Battery Maker

LG Chem gets contract from Daimler to make batteries for the Smart ForTwo ED electric vehicle.

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After Paying People Not To Work, The Tide Has Turned

The Michigan battery plant known for paying its workers to do nothing has turned things around and is now hiring more workers, specifically to do something. South Korea-based LG Chem, which runs the factory to supply the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in vehicle with its lithium-ion batteries, held a job fair recently to bring on 40 new employees in order to meet higher battery demand, according to WZZM, the ABC affiliate for Grand Rapids, MI.

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What's good for the goose is good for the gander. In this case, the goose is BMW and the gander is Samsung. And their five-year plan has worked out well.

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Official price remains a mystery

Volkswagen has delivered the first XL1 diesel plug-in hybrid to a customer from Berlin, Germany. Dr. Christian Malorny received his Oryx White XL1 with black and grey interior from Volkswagen Germany's director of sales and marketing for passenger cars, Thomas Zahn, at the company's Transparent Factory in Dresden.

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We made our gigafactory predictions the other day and, it turns out, we were pretty much on target. Today, Tesla Motors released the first official details on its upcoming massive battery plant and we see sun and wind power feeding energy into a plant that will employ around 6,500 people and make enough packs for around a half-million Tesla EVs a year. You read that right. Tesla is getting ready to produce 500,000 EVs a year, and that's already in 2020. Tesla hopes to start selling a lower-cost

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A123 Systems, the lithium-ion battery maker that was acquired out of bankruptcy in January, has promoted Jason Forcier to chief executive officer and said it would attempt to build up its business by attracting more China-based customers, Reuters reports. The company also said its executives would be based at the company's factory in Livonia, MI. Forcier had previously headed A123's auto division.

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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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Delivery companies like FedEx and UPS espouse the virtues of lithium ion batteries, but only when the packs are inside hybrid or electric vehicles. Delivering li-ion batteries is another story.

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Tesla Motors turned the "penny wise, dollar foolish" axiom on its head by staking its lithium-ion battery technology on a more expensive and more complex layout than its competitors, according to Tesla Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel in an interview with Bloomberg News.

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There are already lithium-ion batteries in some Toyota vehicles (the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, the RAV4 EV and the European Prius+, for example), but the company's standard bearer – the non-plug Prius hybrid – still relies on nickel metal hydride (NiMH) cells. But, the future belongs to li-ion, and that's why Toyota will soon increase its production of the higher-energy-density batteries sixfold with an eye to putting them into the Prius at an unspecified point in the future, according t

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When your country boasts a fairly desolate area called the "Outback" that's about 1,800 miles wide, driving range is paramount. Researchers at Australia's University of Wollongong appear to have that in mind as they develop an electric-vehicle battery that can provide more than twice the single-charge range of a typical lithium ion battery. That may not quite equal 1,800 miles, but it's getting closer.

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It looks like the last hand's been played at those reputed card games that not-so-busy employees at LG Chem's lithium-ion battery factory in Michigan were playing. The South Korean company is planning to start production of batteries for the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in in July, with the first batteries rolling off the factory's three assembly lines by end of summer, the Detroit Free Press reports. US Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) is using the announcement to call the partially government-b

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Imagine recharging a Nissan Leaf from a standard 110-volt outlet in, say, oh, about a minute. Far-fetched, sure, but at least one research facility thinks it has a lead on making lithium-ion batteries that can recharge 1,000 times faster than current ones.

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At the SAE World Congress in Detroit this week, Nissan brought the guts of its new Pure Drive Hybrid System, a four-cylinder gas engine and 15-kW electric motor that has two clutches. The clutches on either side of the motor allows the system to use the motor for propulsion or regeneration and also result in a compact size, about the same as a conventional CVT, we were told. The system also uses a 144-volt lithium-ion battery.

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Electrovaya, the Canadian lithium-ion battery maker, is ready to go full speed ahead on battery production after cutting its output and improving its technology.

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Last week was a rough one for Mitsubishi and its efforts to broaden its appeal among potential plug-in vehicle buyers. Two fires caused the Japanese automaker to halt production of both the Outlander plug-in hybrid and a version of the all-electric i-MiEV. The two separate incidents – both in Japan – involved plug-in vehicle battery-pack fires and, until the cause is found, production will be suspended, reports Automotive News.

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