The Lithium Challenge

Nothing is ever easy when it comes to minerals we need and don't have enough of, writes the Long Beach Press Telegram editorial staff.

Published: 05-Feb-2009

Americans would like nothing better than reducing our dependence on oil from countries that hate us, and use our dollars to foment terrorism. Washington and automakers are struggling to find ways to do just that, and one solution is vehicles that use batteries to achieve better mileage.

So far, lithium is the best material to manufacture those batteries. Lithium batteries are lighter than ones that use nickel and are more efficient. So, it would seem that if enough lithium were available at a good price, soon Americans would buy the cars they want at affordable prices. U.S. automakers would be saved, along with jobs Americans desperately want. But nothing is ever easy when it comes to minerals we need and don't have enough of.

The biggest known lithium reserves are found in a remote salt desert in Bolivia, and the country's president, Evo Morales, doesn't much like us.


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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