Companies Charge Ahead With Lithium-Ion Battery Partnership

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
companies charge ahead with lithium ion battery partnership

Financial Times reports that Johnson Controls and Saft have joined forces to build a factory to produce lithium-ion batteries for automotive applications. The factory in Nersac, France will supply batteries to GM, Chrysler and Mecedes, amongst others. Initially, the new venture will be turning out about 5k battery packs per year, increasing production from then on as demand increases. The partnership also plans to produce batteries in Asia and other locations. Meanwhile, Toyota is making preparations with Panasonic to produce Li-Ion batteries for the Prius, while GM works with Continental and LG Chemical to develop batteries for the Volt, and Nissan partners with NEC for their electric car project in Israel. Anyone want to place a bet on how long it'll be before we're fretting over the lithium supply like we do crude oil?

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4 of 8 comments
  • Virtual Insanity Virtual Insanity on Jan 31, 2008

    Tiberium people. Tiberium is the answer.

  • Robert Schwartz Robert Schwartz on Jan 31, 2008

    It would be far too sweet to see the environmentalist dream, the electric car, frustrated by the environmentalist own actions in closing mines.

  • Jolo Jolo on Jan 31, 2008

    Does it seem that the battery technology consortiums are the dotcoms of 2008? So many of them coming out of nowhere offering the car companies the latest in battery technology and the means to mass produce whatever package they are looking for. Someone's gonna get burnt. And it's gonna be the consumer (us folk) because whatever all those different companies come up with, sure as shootin there will be no standards and you won't be able to mix and match to suit your driving style. Beta versus VHS all over again; blu-ray vs hd-dvd, for those not old enough to remember.

  • EJ_San_Fran EJ_San_Fran on Feb 01, 2008

    Frank, Great question about lithium resources. We haven't even started yet and we're already worrying about the end of it. There is a lot of lithium in the world that can be produced cheaply. Good for millions or even a billion cars. And it's not coming from OPEC. Is there going to be a lithium cartel? I don't think so, because most lithium producing countries are well-behaved members of the world trade organization. That doesn't necessarily mean lithium will be cheap, though. What's the biggest cost of lithium batteries? It's not the raw material; it's the refining and manufacturing. I think we'll be okay with lithium till 2030. After that there may be a new generation of batteries. How about carbon nanotubes?