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PHOTO CAPTION: Chevy Volt battery pack will provide plug-in car with up to 40 miles 'Electric-First' driving range.

Electric Car Batteries Charging Ahead

High battery costs and limited production capacity remain serious challenges for commercialization of the American electric-drive vehicles.

Published: 10-Feb-2009

Two big batteries stand side by side at the General Motors testing lab in Warren, Mich.

One is an artifact, built a dozen years ago. Weighing 1,200 pounds, it could fill the back of a large pickup truck. Standing on one end, it towers over GM’s Robert Kruse, executive director of global vehicle engineering for hybrids and electric vehicles.

The other battery is new and produces the same amount of energy but is a relatively trim 400 pounds. It comes up just past Kruse’s shoulder, and it will squeeze into the body of the compact Chevy Volt that GM plans to start producing next year.

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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.

Chrysler is looking to develop their next generation of plug-ins to compete directly with GM's upcoming 2010 Volt using GE's 'dual-battery' energy storage system.

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