Volt Birth Watch 3: Lithium-Ion Batteries The Next Big Thing. For Now.

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Yesterday, we reported on Tesla and Toyota's [potential] troubles with lithium-ion batteries. Little did we know there'd be an explosion (so to speak) of Li-ion news. Detroit Free Press reports that GM Car Czar Maximum Bob Lutz announced an "expanded" deal with lithium-ion battery maker A123Systems (first in the phone book!). The Watertown, MA company will develop nanophosphate-based Li-Ion battery packs for GM's E-Flex hybrid system. "I think that our No. 1 competitor has some problems with their technology, and I do think that it very definitely opens a window of opportunity for us to be first to market with a genuine plug-in hybrid." Lutz promised to have the technology sorted by 2010, when GM's E-Flex-equipped Volt is scheduled to appear at a Chevy dealer near you. Meanwhile, Automotive News [sub] also reveals that Chrysler will shove some lithium-ion batteries into their Sprinter vans this fall. As for fire and explosions… ""We are approaching safety…with a layered system approach," says Johnson Controls-Saft engineer Mary-Ann Wright. "We will ensure safety performance is achieved at the cell, pack and system level." Sounds like a plan.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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