Should the petro-automotive complex be concerned about the lithium battery revolution?

Lithium battery technology is currently focused on developing improvements in several areas. The search often involves implementing advances in nanotechnology and microstructures. For example:

* Increase cycle life and performance (decrease internal resistance and increase power output) by changing the composition of the material used in the anode and cathode, along with increasing the effective surface area of ​​the electrodes and the change of materials used in the electrolyte.
* Improved capacity by improving the structure to incorporate more active materials.
* Improved safety of lithium ion batteries.

We should see big strides in efficiency and energy in the near future. In 2006, a group of MIT scientists announced a process that uses viruses to form nano-sized wires. These can be used to build ultra-thin lithium-ion batteries with three times the normal energy density. In 2009, a New Scientist report claimed that MIT had succeeded in producing the first virus-based 3-volt lithium-ion battery. Later in 2009, engineers at the University of Dayton Research Institute developed the world’s first solid-state rechargeable lithium air battery, which was designed to address the risk of fire and explosion from other lithium and rechargeable batteries. give way to the development of large rechargeable lithium batteries. batteries for a number of industrial applications, including hybrid and electric cars.

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries have quickly become the most widely used battery chemistry in today’s portable electronic devices, such as laptops, cell phones, and PDAs. Due to the high energy density, light weight, and flexibility of construction, lithium-ion and lithium-ion polymer batteries have replaced nickel rechargeable batteries. All major battery manufacturers have introduced next-generation lithium-ion cells. Lithium-ion batteries will power the hybrid and electric car revolution. And revolution is not too strong a word for it.

The Energy Independence and Security Act tightened fuel efficiency standards to 35 mpg by 2020. Obama tightened the standards even further in May, raising fuel economy standards to 39 mpg for cars and 27 mpg for trucks. The deadline was pushed forward four years to 2016. The new rules ensure that the lithium-ion battery is the only way automakers can meet the new standards. Since a vehicle battery requires 100 times more lithium carbonate than a laptop battery, it is necessary to build large-scale manufacturing facilities. The Department of Energy just announced $ 8 billion in low-cost loans to Ford, Nissan and Tesla to build new battery factories. Metal Miner reports, “Johnson Controls and Saft of France are building a battery production plant in Michigan with the support of $ 220 million in state aid.” The government has committed $ 25 billion through the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program to nurture the emerging lithium battery industry.

Meanwhile, our new Prius uses the NiMH battery, and the current state of lithium-free battery technology is not bad! The Prius uses a sealed nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH for short) battery rated at 28 horsepower (21 Kw) and a voltage of 201.6 V. There is another smaller auxiliary battery (12 volts). , which powers the Prius computer. The Prius battery is designed to last the life of the car. According to Toyota, this is around 180,000 miles. In fact, batteries can be recycled. You can find a summary of the process on the Toyota website. It should be noted that the Prius traction batteries are warranted for 8-10 years or 100,000 miles, so they will be replaced free of charge prior to that date in the event of failure. However, if the battery fails outside of this time frame, the estimated cost of replacing the traction battery is $ 3,000. When quick acceleration is needed, battery power will “help” the gasoline engine, reducing fuel consumption during this period. Our 2010 Model II is over 50 miles per gallon and we still have less than 2,000 miles. We love seeing the mpg gauge hover between 60-100 mpg when running on a flat road! The bottom line is that we have reduced our gas costs by two-thirds and, more importantly, our carbon footprint by two-thirds!

From 2003 to 2007, when Blackberry and iPods exploded on the scene, demand for lithium carbonate doubled, the refined form of lithium used in batteries. Lithium’s ultra-light weight and volatility make it the perfect fuel for powering small batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are lighter, smaller, and have more energy than conventional batteries. That is why they are perfect for mobile phones and laptops. And soon it will be for electric vehicles !!

The current state of electric car development is just a consumer test by car manufacturers. They will shuffle their feet, wallowing in their ignorance, greed and arrogance until the general public yells “Enough!” Global warming is a much bigger long-term problem than the oil and auto industries’ short-term focus on equity returns and their blatant lack of concern for carbon emissions. The federal government should give every buyer of hybrids and electrics a significant “tax credit” until the emissions problem is under control. Consumers must be tempted to go electric! The major automakers will not give up on their brainwashing public (which they created) until they have milked the ‘SUV’ and ‘PU’ (pick up) cow dry. Is OPEC to blame? Not! It’s our own Petro-Automotive industrial complex!

What is happening in the automotive industry with forward-thinking companies?

* Mercedes launches its S400 HYBRID sedan in early 2010. E-Class, M-Class and GL-Class will follow closely behind.
* Tesla Motors has delivered its American-made Roadster, a fully electric two-seater sports car and plans to introduce its Model S sedan in 2011. The Tesla Roadster accelerates from 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds, reaching speeds of up to 160 mph. and travels over 200 miles on a single charge.
* Nissan has remodeled a factory in Tennessee to produce 150,000 pure electric cars, called The Leaf.
* Ford will launch the all-electric Transit Connect commercial fleet truck in 2010 and plans to invest $ 550 million to remodel a Michigan truck plant to make a pure electric Focus in 2011.
* Chinese automakers Hafei and Coda plan to bring a mass-produced electric car to market in California in the fall of 2010.
* The BMW MINI-E gives you all the fun and agile handling of its gasoline cousin, but costs 40% less to operate per month. Last May (2009) a test fleet was launched in the USA.
* The Jeep Patriot SUV, Dodge sports car, four-door Jeep Wrangler, and Chrysler minivan are reportedly leading Chrysler into the electric car race.
* The Chevy Volt is reportedly already in production and will be available in 2010. GM’s rebirth as a viable company may depend on the Volt! The Volt is powered by advanced lithium-ion smart batteries with associated computer controls for cooling and recharging.

Should OPEC be concerned? The Volt will go up to 40 miles without touching a drop of gasoline. The 40 mile range is not a coincidence. It is the average distance that 75% of Americans travel on their daily commute. After 40 miles, an onboard internal combustion engine recharges the batteries. It is expected to get 230 mpg in the city and give the Volt a range of 640 miles on a single tank. The Volt will average 100 to 230 miles per gallon of gas.

What is happening on the world stage regarding the use of lithium for battery production?
* China announced plans to increase production of refined lithium for use in batteries by 461% by 2011.
* An Australian company recently agreed to produce 17,000 tonnes of this wonderful substance in China’s Jiangsu province.
* The Obama administration has earmarked a whopping $ 25 billion, a 6,250-fold increase over previous spending, to develop refined supplies of this super green fuel.

If growing lithium producers and lithium battery developers pick up the pace, we should see real progress in the electric vehicle industry very soon – not a minute too soon! Please see the link below for more detailed information on the current advantages and disadvantages of lithium ion batteries.

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