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Posts Tagged ‘lithium-ion batteries’

Nissan, Honda Join Race for Next-Gen Solid State Batteries

Automakers chase "the Holy Grail" of a more powerful, lighter, cheaper battery that charges as quickly as motorists can fill up a gas tank.

by on Dec.21, 2017

BMW's Klaus Froehlich with the new i8 Roadster, Next Vision concept and i3s, which may all use solid state batteries in the future.

(Note: The name of Solid Power’s CEO has been corrected to Josh Buettner-Garrett.)

The race to develop next-generation batteries that could substantially increase range plus reduce costs – and dramatically improve the appeal of tomorrow’s electrified vehicles – is rapidly heating up.

Just days after BMW announced a new joint venture aimed at developing promising new solid state batteries, Japanese automakers Nissan and Honda have confirmed they are working on the technology, as well.

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“Solid state technology is finally taking off,” Josh Buettner-Garrett, CEO of Colorado-based Solid Power, a start-up focusing on the new technology, told “What’s spurring all the recent activity has been (breakthroughs) that enable competition with lithium-ion for applications like automobiles.” (more…)

Second Daimler Plant to Yield 400% Increase in Battery Production

Factory will play critical role in launch of new Mercedes-EQ models.

by on Oct.24, 2016

Daimler's new plant will cost the maker about 500 million euros but quadruple battery output.

Daimler AG has broken ground in the German town of Kamenz for a second battery plant, a move that should yield a 400% increase in its capacity to produce lithium-ion packs for a wave of new electric vehicles now under development.

During last month’s Paris Motor Show, Daimler revealed the new Generation EQ concept vehicle, a production version of which will serve as the anchor of an all-new new sub-brand, Mercedes-EQ. The maker also revealed electrified versions of all the current Smart brand models.


“By 2025, our passenger car product portfolio will contain more than ten fully electric vehicles,” said Thomas Weber, the Daimler board member overseeing R&D and Mercedes car development. “At the same time, we are continuously pushing our plug-in-hybrid offensive and the introduction of 48-volt-systems,” and the batteries that will be produced at the new plant, as well as the original factory in Kamenz, will become “an integral part” of that product roll-out.”


Panasonic Aims to Help Tesla Launch Gigafactory

Japanese tech giant sending “100s” of workers to Nevada.

by on Jun.09, 2015

A rendering of the Tesla Gigafactory.

Tesla Motors will get a big helping hand from its Japanese tech partner Tesla in a push to get the planned Gigafactory battery plant into production next year.

Panasonic plans to send “hundreds” of its own employees to the Reno, Nevada plant site in an effort to help Tesla get it completed. The $5 billion Gigafactory is expected to become the world’s largest producer of lithium-ion batteries once it gets up to full speed, those batteries used not only for Tesla’s electric vehicles but also for backup energy systems and other applications.

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“We’ll need hundreds of people at the start,” Yoshio Ito, Panasonic’s automotive and industrial systems division chief said in Japan. “We should actually see that starting around the autumn.”

Panasonic, which has been supplying batteries for the Tesla Model S, is a major partner in the Gigafactory, with its own investment expected to approach $500 million.


Ford Goes Back to School – Teams up with U-Michigan on $8 Mil Battery Lab

Partnership aimed at development of new batteries, battery vehicles.

by on Oct.14, 2013

An engineer working at the new battery lab at the Univ. of Michigan sponsored, in part by Ford.

Battery power offers some tremendous advantages over the conventional, internal combustion engine. It’s clean, efficient and can slash an owner’s energy bills substantially. There’s just one problem: the battery itself: costly, slow to charge and limited in range.

Coming up with better battery alternatives that can reduce costs, improve range – and yield more appealing battery-electric vehicles and hybrids is the ambitious goal of a new program partnering Ford Motor Co. and the University of Michigan, the Ann Arbor-based campus opening up a new $8 million battery research lab.

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“There’s a lot of hunger” for more advanced batteries than are available today, according to Ted Miller, manager of battery research at Ford.

The facility – created with a mix of public and private funding – is designed to handle research that neither traditional battery manufacturers, nor carmakers like Ford, can normally handle. That means developing and testing new chemistries specifically earmarked for automotive applications and focused upon getting any breakthroughs into the market as quickly as possible.


Toyota Plans Major Boost in Lithium Battery Output

Major shift from older tech suggests more emphasis on plug-ins, BEVs.

by on May.20, 2013

Toyota will expand production of lithium-ion batteries. Expect them to show up in the next-gen Prius and possibly other Toyota products.

Toyota is planning a major increase in production of advanced lithium-ion batteries that could be used in its Prius hybrid and perhaps in other plug-ins or battery-electric vehicles, according to reports from Japan.

The six-fold increase in production of LIon batteries comes as a major shift for the maker which had, until recently, focused exclusively on less powerful but cheaper and more time-tested nickel-metal hydride technology.

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The report by Japan’s Nikkei daily business paper says Toyota and battery partner Panasonic will soon be assembling 200,000 lithium-ion batteries annually, largely for use in the popular Prius model. It is unclear if they will be used in just the conventional hybrid version or may also be used for the new Prius plug-in model.


Boeing’s Battery Problems Could Short-Circuit Battery Car Market

Unexplained fires raise new concerns about lithium-ion technology.

by on Jan.22, 2013

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the first commercial jet to make heavy use of lithium-ion power.

The ongoing investigation of faulty lithium-ion power packs on the new 787 Dreamliner could have implications far beyond the aerospace industry, some observers worrying that Boeing’s battery problems could short-circuit the nascent market for plug-ins, hybrids and other electrified automobiles.

Investigators in the U.S. and Japan have put a spotlight on the lithium backup power systems used on the new Boeing jet, linking the technology to several recent incidents, including a fire on one of the Dreamliners parked at a gate at Boston’s Logan field. Some observers are pointing to a series of fires involving the battery packs used in various electric vehicles, including the Chevrolet Volt and Fisker Karma.

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With the Boeing story getting a lot of airplay, “This is definitely an issue,” said Joe Phillippi, of AutoTrends Consulting. “This could be particularly bad timing,” the analyst cautioned, considering the push to increase sales of battery-based vehicles in the years ahead.


Battery Makers Facing Shake-Out

A123’s failure likely to be followed by others, warns new study.

by on Oct.23, 2012

The auto industry could see a shake-out among its battery suppliers.

The consolidation in the business of making lithium-ion batteries, a key component in electric vehicles, is moving faster than expected – the recent bankruptcy and sale of A123’s automotive operations to JCI just the latest example.

The consulting firm of Roland Berger predicted a consolidation back in 2010. But in an update to the report issued this week, it is saying the shake-out is unfolding faster than expected and predicts only six to eight international players in lithium battery production will remain in the market by 2017.

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The move could head off a potentially devastating price war among competitors at a time of unexpectedly slow sales of battery-based vehicles. But for auto manufacturers, that could translate into higher component costs that, in turn, slow the growth in demand for electrified vehicles, some analysts warn.


JCI Buys Bankrupt Battery Maker A123

Maker rejects Chinese rescue bid.

by on Oct.17, 2012

A123 fell victim to slow battery car demand - and manufacturing problems.

A123 Systems Inc., the Waltham, Massachusetts firm that had promised to revolutionize the car business with its batter technology, has filed for bankruptcy protection and announced it was selling all of its automotive assets to Johnson Controls Inc. for approximately $125 million.

That move came as the fast-faltering A123 elected to nix an alternative deal with a Shanghai-based battery company, Shanghai Advanced Traction Battery Co., which was supposed to ease A123′s cash flow crisis – but which also created a political stir considering the U.S. firm’s outstanding government loans.

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The sale to JCI, one of the auto industry’s largest suppliers, should permit the now bankrupt battery maker to maintain deliveries to an assortment of automakers that includes the California start-up Fisker Automotive.


Late Update: Explosion at GM Tech Center Battery Lab

One worker hospitalized, battery lab indefinitely closed.

by on Apr.11, 2012

A lithium-ion battery being tested at the GM Tech Center in Warren, Michigan.

This is the latest update of’s initial report, posted at 5:30 PM EDT.

An explosion at a battery vehicle research lab at the General Motors Technical Center resulted in six injuries, including one hospitalization.  The lab was evacuated and it and adjoining offices will remain closed at least for another day.  The automaker says the incident was the result of “extreme testing on a prototype battery.”

Though the maker stresses that its Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid was not involved in the incident, the explosion could prove another setback considering the brouhaha that followed reports of several fires involving the Volt last year subsequent to crash testing by federal safety regulators.

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“An incident occurred about 8:45 a.m. Wednesday inside a test chamber at the General Motors Alternative Energy Center during extreme testing of an experimental battery,” the maker stated in a news release. “Chemical gases from the battery cells were released and ignited in the enclosed chamber. The battery itself was intact. The battery tested and the incident have no connection with the Chevrolet Volt or any other GM production vehicle.”

The automaker reports five employees were treated at the scene with another worker’s injuries requiring hospitalization.


A123 Recalling Faulty Electric Vehicle Batteries

Acknowledges blame for recent Fisker fiasco.

by on Mar.26, 2012

A123 has accepted responsibility for recent problems with the Fisker Karma battery pack.

Admitting it supplied the faulty pack that failed during a recent, highly publicized test of the Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid, battery maker A123 has announced the recall of lithium-ion batteries it has provided for five electric vehicle programs.

While the supplier declined to identify the other automakers impacted by the recall or the precise number of batteries, it indicated the total cost of replacing potentially defective batteries will come to $55 million.

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“This is absolutely not a good time” for the recall to occur, conceded David Vieau, CEO of A123 Systems, one of the largest providers of lithium-ion batteries for automotive applications – especially as it comes only a few months after a widely reported problem with the battery pack used in the Chevrolet Volt.  But Vieau insisted it is “not a widespread problem that would challenge the viability of the technology.”