Advanced Car Batteries Industry Still Wide Open?By Cuong Huynh • Jan 18th, 2009 • Category: Battery Technology for Hybrid and Electric Cars
What do hybrid cars and electric cars have in common beside rubber tires, steering wheels and small, cute looks? Their energy storage systems, or batteries, of course.
However you look at it, hybrid and electric cars cannot succeed without advanced batteries or electric energy storage systems. It’s the single most important element that allows them to achieve higher miles per gallon (mpg) than conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) powered cars.
Recently there’s no shortage of buzz in hybrid and electric cars due to high and fluctuating gas prices and the general state of the automobile industry. When an international auto show rolls around (like the recent Detroit and Los Angeles international auto shows), the buzz is especially loud as companies are positioning themselves for a better buzz then the next guy. It seems every car manufacturer has a concept car in development that requires advanced battery technology.
But where are they getting their batteries from? It’s not quite clear at best. Big players already in the game include BYD Motors, Panasonic Corp (which supplies the Prius’ hybrid batteries) and Sanyo Electric Co Ltd. They are wisely positioning themselves in top positions in this rapidly developing industry and will most likely come out ahead as the industry matures. In the mean time, Intel is weighing its options. The company has been urged by a former chairman to manufacture advanced technology batteries for hybrid electric cars. Intel already has investments in battery-related companies, but it would be a fundamental step if the chip maker shifted into the electric car business. But Intel executives have indicated they won’t commit to anything at this time, meaning it’s unlikely.
Advanced batteries technology development and manufacturing are all risky bets. According to Ford executive chairman William C. Ford Jr., “There are no guarantees that consumers — for all their stated concerns about global warming, dependence on foreign oil and unpredictable gas prices — will buy enough of them.” He explained, “They may balk, for example, at the limits on how far they can drive on a single charge.”
Some help may come from commitment from President-elect Barack Obama. He has said he is committed to promoting cleaner cars, and may propose incentives to encourage consumers and businesses to buy them. What we need is batteries with more storage capacity, quicker charging time, lower cost, higher reliability and durability. For now, the advanced car batteries industry is wide open.
What’s your opinion on the current state of advanced batteries for hybrid and electric cars? Who may come out ahead of the competition and why? What about Lithium-Ion? How much longer do we have to wait? Share your views and opinions.
Cuong Huynh is a marketing communications consultant working in the San Diego area. Cuong is dedicated to helping individuals and companies maximize their presence on the Internet and efficiently take products and services to market through SEO and network marketing. Cuong also maintains a blog on Marketing at marketingautopsyblog.com. You can also find Cuong Huynh's profile on LinkedIn. For fun he maintains a blog on Vietnamese pho, soccer and do storyboards for movie and film projects. Follow Cuong on Twitter @CuongHuynh, @LovingPho, @CleanCarTalk, @BlockbusterFilm, @SoccerUSA.
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