The Economist has an interesting article on the next big thing in automotive industry: the quest in search of the perfect battery.
Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which helped to make the mobile-phone revolution possible in the past decade, are now expected to power the increasing electrification of the car. “They are clearly the next step,” says Mary Ann Wright, the boss of Johnson Controls-Saft Advanced Power Solutions, a joint venture that recently opened a factory in France to produce lithium-ion batteries for hybrid vehicles.
According to Menahem Anderman, a consultant based in California who specialises in the automotive-battery market, more money is being spent on research into lithium-ion batteries than all other battery chemistries combined. A big market awaits the firms that manage to adapt lithium-ion batteries for cars. Between now and 2015, Dr Anderman estimates, the worldwide market for hybrid-vehicle batteries will more than triple, to $2.3 billion. Lithium-ion batteries, the first of which should appear in hybrid cars in 2009, could make up as much as half of that, he predicts.