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Battery boss says laptop power tech to drive most electric cars

Lithium-ion to dominate

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'Leccy Tech A manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries for electric cars has said that lithium-ion batteries will dominate the electric car market for the next 15-20 years.

The claims comes from Compact Power CEO Prabhakar Patil, speaking this week at the Reuters-sponsored Autos Summit event.

If Patil's correct, then it doesn't look like we'll be purring around the nation on fuel-cell powered cars for some years to come - or using Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) power packs either.

Certainly, the initial run of electric cars that are designed to appeal to mainstream drivers rather than the kind of folk happy with teeny 'leccy cars like the G-Wiz, are predicated on lithium-ion battery technology, typically backed up with a petrol-powered generator to boost the range when necessary.

Originally dismissed because of safety fears, lithium-ion technology developments over the past few years have ensured car makers are now looking at lithium-ion as a better choice than bulky but more stable NiMH batteries.

The lithium-ion technology - give or take a cathode compound or two - used in electric-car batteries is the same basic chemistry as the ones used in today's laptops and Small, Cheap Computers.

Compact Power is part of the LG combine - it's a subsidiary of LG Chem - and is pitching for business from major auto-makers who are putting the finishing touches to the electric cars they'll be bringing to market early in the next decade, cars such as General Motors' Chevrolet Volt and the Mitsubishi i MiEV.

Compact Power supplied battery technology for the concept version of the Volt and will supply lithium-ion battteries for Hyundai hybrids, due to go out under the Kia brand after 2009.

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