The Automotive Industry Ramps Up
It seems that li-ion batteries (short for lithium ion batteries) are all the talk at the moment in the electric and hybrid car world.
, the only US-based auto li-ion battery manufacturer has been in the news of late, along with some of the japanese big guns, who are investing heavily to expand operations to meet expected demand for the batteries which are gradually finding their way into electric cars.
Although there are challenges with li-ion battery packs, they are less toxic than the lead-acid batteries found in standard vehicles and can be recycled at the end of their life-cycle.
Matsushita who owns the Panasonic brand, is spending roughly $951 million (100 billion yen) constructing what would be one of the world's biggest li-ion battery factories. The new factory will triple the company's current capacity and help it to meet growing demand for laptops, mobile phones as well as the automotive industry.
Toyota has a battery joint venture with Panasonic, who produce the nickel metal hydride batteries used in current Toyota hybrids, but are currently researching the use of lithium ion batteries in future models including a plug-in Prius expected in late 2009.
Mitsubishi, soon to be releasing the i-Miev to its japanese market is expecting big things from the electric car with its 330volt li-ion battery pack.
Mitsubishi and their joint venture partner Yuasa have announced that their planned battery plant needs to be four times larger than first planned.
All of this before a single battery has been produced!
Initially the plant will be able to produce enough battery packs for 10,000 EV's, with capacity expecting to be doubled by 2012.
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