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    The great battery race
    Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 @ 22:53:08 GMT by vlad

    Devices Anonymous writes: Dramatic developments in stored-power technology make electric cars more viable than ever.
    By Alex Taylor III, senior editor

    (Fortune) -- At a breakfast in New York last week, Jim Press, vice chairman and president of Chrysler LLC made the startling announcement that every single new Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep is being engineered so that it can be adapted for a gas-electric hybrid powertrain. That's a huge change for technologically challenged Chrysler, which currently markets only two gas-electric hybrid vehicles - both of them equipped with technology developed by General Motors (GM, Fortune 500).

    In fact, Press's statement is the most sweeping endorsement of hybrid vehicles by any manufacturer - Toyota included - and it represents a huge reversal in attitude toward hybrids. Scorned as uneconomical curiosities only a few years ago, they are now solidly in the mainstream. Whereas 13 hybrid models were for sale in 2007, there are, by one count, expected to be more than 60 available by 2011. GM announced this week that it will offer at least 16 hybrid models by 2012....

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    Company says its battery will change future of cars (Score: 1)
    by vlad on Saturday, March 08, 2008 @ 20:28:00 GMT
    (User Info | Send a Message) http://www.zpenergy.com

    WATERTOWN, Mass. -- In a brick hall by the Charles River, where blacksmiths made cannons for the Uni0n Army, a new breed of metalworker forges what may be the best weapon automakers will have for surviving the 21st Century.

    At the labs of A123 Systems, technicians assemble an electric heart for the Chevrolet Volt, a battery pack that will be shipped to General Motors Corp. for testing as the company races to build an electric vehicle by 2010.

    And for all the doubts about whether a tiny 7-year-old company can essentially rewire the domestic auto industry, A123's executives express abundant confidence in their invention.

    "Today, we are providing enough batteries to power the equivalent of 100,000 vehicles," said Ric Fulop, one of A123's founders and its chief evangelist. "If you look at other technologies, they're still in the lab. It's years before they get into mass production."

    The hurdles to powering vehicles with electricity instead of oil have become less daunting in the past year, but they're still towering.

    • Cost -- a battery pack for a single Chevy Volt would cost about $10,000 today.

    • Safety -- protecting passengers in crashes and controlling hot batteries.

    • Longevity -- guaranteeing 10 or 15 years of life from untested technology.

    While GM's plan to build a car that travels 40 miles on a single electric charge has galvanized the industry, most experts say the technology isn't ready.

    No battery today "does it all," said Don Hillebrand, director of the Center for Transportation Research at Argonne National Laboratory. "But when you watch the history and the progress they're making, they're improving rapidly. ... Soon, they'll have it."...

    More: http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ [www.freep.com]


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