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The quest for the perfect battery is accelerating so that the next crop of hybrids are even more efficient.

Published: 05-Feb-2006

THE search for the "perfect" battery to power new generations of environmentally friendly electric cars is like a quest for the holy grail. In the past 20 years, much effort has been expended for only a modest reward.

Now, two leaders in the battery world are joining forces in an attempt to move closer to this goal. Johnson Controls, a US auto components company and car battery maker, has teamed up with Saft, a French maker of industrial batteries, to work on a new series of power systems based on lithium-ion technology.

They plan to make much bigger versions of the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries used in consumer goods such as mobile phones and camcorders, which will be suitable for the hybrid cars that have leapt in popularity in the past few years. Hybrids use a combination of conventional petrol engines and battery power to reduce fuel use, cutting down on harmful emissions.

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