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GM and Toyota: Electric Vehicles and the Big Bad Battery Debate

Posted in Alt Fuels, Car Tech, Chevrolet, Concept Cars, Design, Electric Cars, Emissions, GM, Hybrid, Materials, Toyota by will bee | August 10th, 2007 | Leave a Reply |

Toyota and GM are in a race to get their exciting new Hybrid/Electric cars to the market. Toyota is working on the next generation Prius, while GM is pressing to get their concept car the Volt completed on schedule. Both auto makers seem to be effected by the same hurdle: Lithium Ion Batteries.

Alternative power source

The problem with the Lithium batteries is that the run hot and can potentially lead to serious damage or fire if left unchecked. Both Toyota and GM have hoped to make use of the Lithium batteries in their future cars and both have been stymied in their pursuits.

Toyota’s efforts have slowed down enough that they are currently postponing their unveiling of the next generation Prius until 2011; a year behind their previous due date. While GM too has struggled with their battery research they just signed a new aggreement with “A123 Systems to co-develop nano-phosphate battery cells for automobiles.” Even though the ink is still a tad damp on the new cooperative agreement the folks at GM feel that their new partnership may just give them a leg-up in the Battery Wars.

Of course GM will not be resting on their Laurals because an agreement to build a better battery does not always produce the intended results. Until either car has successfully reached the market place with their intended systems in tact and go through a years worth of road testing no conclusion can be made on which approach will win. The ebb and flow of the Battery Wars is sure to change between now and either cars unveiling, so until then we will not rush to judgement. Time for those Research and Development  engineers to get creative (wait… are engineers and creative oxymorons?).


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