• Viknesh Posted: 8/31/2009 4:10pm PDT

    @ interesting
    "Funny how all this talk about going green so we can stop being dependent on foreign oil just propels us into the arms of foreign lithium."
    It's good to see a lot of companies setting up lithium-ion production in the U.S. at least.

  • John Voelcker Posted: 8/31/2009 2:53pm PDT

    @Richard @Bob (more): The general consensus in the industry is that hydrogen cars have a long, long way to go.
    Not because the storage tanks and fuel cells themselves can't be engineered to an acceptable level of reliability, size, and cost, but because there is ZERO infrastructure for providing hydrogen to consumers.
    So the impediments are:
    (1) Need to set up nationwide / global H2 refueling infrastructure; and
    (2) Need to figure out how to produce the needed amount of H2 at an acceptable cost for energy.
    And it's that latter one that's the hard nut. It takes a *lot* of energy to disentangle H2 from its chemical bonds. So the energy balance of providing H2 may in fact be no better, on a "wells to wheels" basis, than is oil today.
    Electricity, on the other hand, is distributed in at least some form (110 Volts) to every single American house and business.

  • cooldude Posted: 8/31/2009 2:12pm PDT

    What if we run out of Lithium eventually? If going green is consuming other natural resources untill it run out on us, I don't buy it. I wish just like solar energy and wind energy, if there is a all natural solution for this.

  • richard avatar Richard Posted: 8/31/2009 1:39pm PDT

    @Joe (and following up on John): There's actually a fledgling lithium recycling industry afoot. You can read more about that here: http://ow.ly/ntPq
    .
    @Nebraska: The general consensus seems to be that hybrids are just a rest stop between combustion engines and plug-in EVs (if battery tech improves) or fuel cell vehicles. Fuel cells are the more advanced and eye-popping of the two, but the gap between here and there is a bit wider.
    .
    @Bob: There's at least one fuel cell on the road now -- the Honda FCX Clarity -- but it's only available in California. We just ran a piece about a new Mercedes fuel cell that's coming to America in 2010. It may be California-only, too, but expansion of the hydrogen infrastructure is slowly happening: http://ow.ly/ntQZ.

  • Bob B Posted: 8/31/2009 1:22pm PDT

    Also - I wander what will we run out of first - oil or lithium?

  • Bob B Posted: 8/31/2009 1:20pm PDT

    When are they gonna come out with them fuel cells already? we've been hearing about them for years...

  • bengt avatar Bengt Posted: 8/31/2009 1:16pm PDT

    From the paper: "Oversupply might be a more pressing question than lithium availability."
    Yep, sounds a lot like big oil and OPEC to me.

  • nebraska Posted: 8/31/2009 12:43pm PDT


    yeah that was my question. is lithium the end point? or is this another stop gap ala the hybrid. should we really be developing something else?

  • John Voelcker Posted: 8/31/2009 12:10pm PDT

    Most of all ... and it should have been noted far and wide in the report, which I haven't read yet ... LITHIUM CAN BE RECYCLED!
    Just like lead in today's lead-acid batteries, which at 96-odd percent are the single most recycled consumer good on the planet, lithium can be extracted from dead lithium-ion batteries, chemically reprocessed, and reused.
    Contrast that to oil. Once we burn it, it's gone, baby. You can't recycle air pollution back into new crude.

  • Joe D. Posted: 8/31/2009 12:09pm PDT

    What does happen when/if we run out of lithium? What is the downside?

  • fizz Posted: 8/31/2009 11:55am PDT

    What impact does disposing the battery have on the environment? Also , I agree with Interesting-now we have to rely on another foreign, "supplier,"?

  • marty avatar Marty Posted: 8/31/2009 11:45am PDT

    Speaking of lithium, does driving a Li-ion hybrid improve your mood as a side effect?

  • Nelson avatar Nelson Posted: 8/31/2009 11:43am PDT

    It'll also be interesting to see how this plays out in future as computers, cars and more and more consumer devices compete for the same resources.

  • interesting Posted: 8/31/2009 11:40am PDT

    Funny how all this talk about going green so we can stop being dependent on foreign oil just propels us into the arms of foreign lithium.