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While many other car-makers (with the notable exception of Toyota) are jumping on the lithium ion bandwagon for new hybrid models, Honda will stick with nickel metal hydride for now. Honda President Takeo Fukui told Automotive News that lithium ion batteries are not yet reliable or durable enough for high volume applications. When Honda debuts a new dedicated hybrid model early next year to take on the Prius, it will continue to use nickel metal hydride batteries.

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Panasonic EV energy is cranking up production of its automotive battery packs. In 2009, the company -- a joint-venture between Toyota and Matsushita (Panasonic's parent company) -- plans to produce 800,000 battery packs for hybrid vehicles. Last year, Toyota sold 429,000 hybrids but has a goal of selling 1 million per year by early in the next decade. Almost all the production will be nickel metal hydride batteries, although toward the end of the year, Panasonic will start producing low volumes

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In pretty much all of the past markets where nickel-based batteries were replaced by lithium-based batteries, the resale value of the nickel-based models takes a sharp nosedive when the lithium models hit the market. Will this same thing happen with hybrid automobiles equipped with the older battery technology? It's hard to say, considering that power tools and laptops are so different than cars, but it may be a cause for concern if some car makers continue pressing on with nickel technology whi

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A Detroit columnist for an alternative weekly recently chastised his local comrades for not recognizing the monumental achievements of Iris Ovshinsky when she died in a drowning accident two weeks ago. We should also receive a few lashes for missing the news.

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