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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

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.

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.

The French half of the Renault-Nissan Alliance has reached an agreement with two partners to develop and produce lithium ion batteries in France. Renault, the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and the French Strategic Investment Fund (FSI) will create a joint venture for EV batteries. The venture will address the full lifecycle of the batteries, including recycling after they have been used in vehicles.

A new report is indicating that LG Chem is moving forward with plans to be build a $300 million advanced battery plant in southwest Michigan in the near future. The plant will be used to build lithium ion cells for automotive applications. Although LG Chem has yet to publicly announce anything, the plant is expected to supply cells for use in the Chevrolet Volt as well as the other upcoming plug-in hybrid from GM. This summer, GM announced and then canceled plans to build a new PHEV crossover fo

Chevy Volt battery pack - click above for high-res image gallery