GM Joins Lithium-Ion Race

vehicles gm saturn flextreme concept car GM Joins Lithium Ion Race

Lithium-ion battery powered hybrid engines are finally coming to the market. And they’re coming in hot. Hot to the degree of three times more power than the old nickel-metal-hydride variety.

The increased power of the lithium-ion battery now quiets all the gearheads who espouse power over planet. And when the public demands, it’s amazing how quickly the auto-industry provides. By 2010, no less than four big automakers have plans of wheeling out their lithium-ion version of hybridity, with GM’s Saturn Flextreme concept car racing to be the first.

The new technology is widely seen as the missing link that has prevented hybridity from mass production. The lithium-ion battery has a better energy-to-weight ratio than other battery options, there is no memory effect, and they lose a minimum amount of charge when not in use. Another big factor in the lithium-ion’s dominance is their high energy density, which is basically just a fancy way of saying the lithium-ion battery packs more punch into less area.

Make no doubt; GM is not doing this because they are finally waking up to the necessary ecological improvements the auto industry must make. GM did not become the world’s largest automaker by sales because they care about our children. No, they want to sell cars. And now that the public is fed up with the propulsion of pump prices, the suits are following suit. GM has plans of putting the lithium-ion hybrid in all their hybrid offerings. They expect to sell over 100,000 lithium-ion hybrid vehicles per year. That’s a whole lot of lithium.

But when all is said and done, we live in a world where people think they really need cars. The new lithium-ion hybrid engine will, according to GM, “produce a 15 percent to 20 percent increase in fuel economy over what a non-hybrid vehicle would get in 2010.” That’s a tangible effect. That’s progress. The kind of progress that only seems to come when the consumer demands change.

Imagine what kind of change could come if we really start making demands.

(via CNN)

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