Breakthroughs with cheaper and better performing batteries

Hitachi Maxell Ltd (6810.T) gained 6.5 percent. A spokesman there confirmed a Nikkei evening edition report that it is aiming to commercialise a longer-lasting [perhaps 20 times longer], cheaper lithium-ion battery in the next three to four years that substitutes expensive cobalt with manganese.

Hybrid Technologies has new superlattice li-ion batteries that can power an electric car 200 miles on a single charge The battery can operate at a higher than normal voltage range of 4V to 2.3V.

– High Capacity 170 Ah/kg or more.
– Non-toxic and disposable.
– Less expensive.

An update on the adoption of electric bicycles and scooters in China

The smallest motors produced about 100 Watts (W) of power, but the majority of electric bicycles used motors in the 180-250W range. In Suzhou City, about fifty miles outside of Shanghai, electric bicycles and scooters outnumbered passenger automobiles by at least ten to one. Scooters had somewhat larger motors, but none of them produced more than one horsepower (746W). Compare that to American automobiles producing at least 100 horsepower, and you can begin to see why electric bicycles are such efficient vehicles compared to other alternatives. Many people rode small folding electric bicycles with 16” or 20” wheels for easy storage in small apartments.

Taiwan rode small two-stroke scooters. When I asked why this was so, people confirmed my suspicions that Chinese people do not, in general buy e-bikes and e-scooters due to any sense of environmental altruism. No… they buy electric because a gas scooter costs five times as much as an e-bike does.

There is an estimated 60 million e-bikes in China now. Probably 25-30 million will be added in 2008 and 2009.

The latest US statistics show a substantial drop in SUV sales and a shift to purchases of more fuel efficient cars

– For the first time since 1992, the vehicle most sold in the United States in May was not an SUV or light truck

– the two most popular cars were the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, which helped Asian auto makers surpass the top three U.S. automakers in the U.S. market for the first time ever

– sales of SUVs and trucks having dipped below car sales in March and April, the May ratio of cars to trucks was 57:43

– U.S. auto sales fell 30 percent in May, and total 2008 sales may be below 15 million vehicles, compared to 17.4 in 2000

Gasoline usage and green house gas emissions could drop in half over the decade or so.

A survey of electric vehicle plans

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