China's Unfair Advantage in Hybrid Car Batteries

With China poised to surpass the United States as the world's largest automobile market this year, the Chinese government has announced plans to help the nation leapfrog Japan to become the largest producer of all-electric and hybrid vehicles in the world. By committing to electric vehicle production, China is also attempting to reduce urban air pollution, carbon emissions and growing dependence on imported oil.

A current production Toyota Prius nickel metal hydride battery pack uses 30 kilograms of nickel, 2 kilograms of cobalt and 12 kilograms of lanthanum because the active hydrogen storage alloy in the battery is either LaNi4.5Co0.5 or (Ce, La, Nd, Pr)Ni5. The Prius assembly plant in Japan has so far used one and 1.5 million rechargeable nickel metal hydride battery packs and achieved with them some of the lowest numbers of service issues ever seen in the OEM automotive industry. In fact most of the original Prius rechargeable nickel metal hydride battery packs have exceeded their 8-year 100,000 mile warranty and are still functioning, according to Resource Investor website.

China controls 95% of the world’s supply of rare earth elements, a class of ores used not just in Prius batteries but in a wide range of high-technology applications, from sonar systems to wind turbines, mobile phones and fluorescent lights.

All this gives China an extraordinary - some might say unfair - advantage to lead the race to dominate the manufacture of cutting-edge technology, according to the Wall Street Journal. Even before any major technology partnership announcements, there are reports that the legendary US investor Warren Buffet is investing in BYD, an obscure Chinese battery, mobile phone, and electric car company.

Toyota and Honda, the two currently leading makers of hybrid vehicles, do not think the Li-on technology is ready for prime time yet. They reportedly are going with an upgraded NiMH battery, using the rare earth elements found in China. Carlos Ghosn, on the other hand, is taking Nissan directly into what he thinks will be the ultimate answer, a Li-on powered electric car with a short stop in hybrid-land, but still powered with Li-on.

Last year, Honda announced that it would produce only hybrid motor vehicles by 2018, and others are likely to follow in its footsteps. As the demand for nickel hydride car batteries grows, those depending on such ores may be forced in the near term to invest in rare earth development in Inner Mongolia, Jiangxi and some other southern provinces to secure supply. In fact, some companies already have done just that. Right now, it’s stuff like X-ray screen makers, phosphor-panel and lamp manufacturers and other electronics firms that have set up joint ventures in China.

What China is waiting for is for the really high-end technology with mass market leverage like hybrid car batteries to beat a path to its door, says the Wall Street Journal. Beijing will have a window to get to a position of advantage with high-end manufacturers as it holds most of the cards for now.

Meanwhile,the new auto-industry plan, published on the main Web site of China's central government, says China aims to build capacity to manufacture 500,000 "new energy" vehicles, such as all-electric battery cars and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles. The plan aims to increase sales of such new-energy cars to account for about 5% of China's passenger vehicle sales.


Related Links:

China's Electric Ambitions

Buffet Investing in Chinese Battery Maker

Car Battery Battle Between Li-on and Nickel Metal Hydride

Auto Industry Prospects in India, Pakistan and China

Pakistan Automobiles Report 2009

Auto Pakistan Expo 2009

Pakistan Automotive Report

China Surpasses US in Auto Sales

Auto Industry in India

India's Global Shopping Spree

Comments

zoomerdaily said…
it's all about between china made cars and american cars.
Riaz Haq said…
The first #ElectricVehicle #charging station of #Pakistan inaugurated in #Lahore http://bit.ly/2fBh0ZC via @techjuicepk
The MENAP (Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan)’s very first ChargeNow electric charging station for hybrid cars is being inaugurated today in Pakistan. BMW ChargeNow station now available at Emporium Mall in Lahore.

Powered by Dewan Motors, the BMW importers in Pakistan, the inaugural ceremony of a electric car charging station is being held at a dedicated event here in Lahore. The Charging station is going to be the first of its kind in Pakistan, or for that matter, in the whole Middle East and Pakistan region.

The station is being launched within the ChargeNow network. The ChargeNow network is a service from BMW which is making BMW collaborate with the charge point operators from around the globe to form a network.

There are three different charging systems in the world. The CHAdeMO standard bears Asian origin. The SuperCharger standard of Tesla and the Combined Charging Standard (CCS) which is preffered by the manufacturers of US and German origin. Although it is still unclear that what system would this dock adhere to, we can anticipate that it could be a CCS system as BMW supports it. ChargeNow DC Fast charging is offered by BMW in cooperation with EVgo. Globally, BMW is also reportedly working on developing wireless inductive charging system.

For quite some time, Pakistanis are also witnessing an increasing number of electric cars. Although not fully Electric, but many hybrid fueled Prius from the Japan based manufacturer Toyota can be seen running on the Pakistani roads. BMW also offers many electric cars, driven by the BMW eDrive technology including the BMW i8.

The concept of Electric cars is relatively a new phenomenon. Although these cars have invaded developed markets and countries in huge numbers, Pakistan hasn’t seen a revolutionizing influx. As the energy crisis and the pollution levels have rose, the awareness on eco-savvy fuels have also seen a rise. Manufacturers from all over the world are putting their heads together to bring out electric cars which serve these purposes well.

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