Electric Car Battery Makers Looking for Juice from Gov't Stimulus Plan

The US Energy Department has set a target price of $1,700 to $3,400 for an all-electric car battery that could go 40 miles on a full charge.

Published: 19-Jan-2009

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. is struggling to catch up with China, Japan and Korea in a race to build the advanced batteries needed to power the electric cars of the future.

The latest setback came last week, when General Motors picked a Korean company over an American rival to build lithium ion batteries for GM's Chevy Volt, which is due on the market late next year.

Lithium ion is the current hot technology to replace the familiar lead-acid batteries used in most cars today, and the newer nickel-metal hydride batteries in hybrid electric vehicles, such as Toyota's popular Prius.

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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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