Electric Car Race Could Strain Lithium Supplies

CNET's Martin LaMonica examines the debate over lithium supplies for advanced batteries.

Published: 31-Oct-2008

The headlong rush to create electric cars for green-minded consumers may come with a significant economic and environmental cost.

Lithium ion batteries--the same used in electronic gadgets and laptops--have become the preferred battery type for plug-in hybrids and electric cars now starting to come to market.

That swelling demand has some industry observers concerned that there will be a shortage of the metal lithium, the material used to make the batteries.


The phosphate-based Epoch batteries are equipped with an advanced management system that will monitor and adjust cell performance.

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.


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