PHOTO CAPTION: Chevrolet Volt Voltec Propulsion System relies on lithium ion batteries housed in center console 'T'. Photo credit: EV

GM, Rivals Spark Race for Electric Car Batteries

Auto industry is beginning to make needed advances in battery technology to put a first wave of rechargeable electric cars like the Volt on the road.

Published: 17-Jan-2009

DETROIT -- With major automakers including General Motors (GM.N) touting high-profile plans for a new generation of environmentally friendly electric cars, sceptics have offered a running rebuttal: show me the battery.

GM picked Korea's LG Chem (051910.KS) to build lithium-ion batteries for its all-electric Chevy Volt, the U.S. auto maker said on Monday. It expects to build the car in Michigan and introduce it in November 2010.

Upstart rival BYD, a five-year-old Chinese company, also said it was looking to begin manufacturing operations in the United States if demand for its low-cost lithium-ion phosphate batteries takes off.


The battery system was developed by CSIRO in Australia, built by the Furukawa Battery Company of Japan and tested in the United Kingdom through the American-based Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium.

The new batteries will make the GM Hybrid System nearly three times more powerful than the system it replaces. Pictured is 2009 Saturn Vue Green Line with Two-mode hybrid drive.

Dramatic developments in stored-power technology make electric cars more viable than ever. Pictures is Th!nk Global's new Ox crossover vehicle.


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