ARGONNE NATIONAL LABORATORY, Ill., Sept 15 (Reuters) - Vast improvements are needed to extend the life and lower the cost of lithium batteries before they can efficiently power vehicles, a U.S. government official who tracks high-power battery development said on Monday.Lithium-ion batteries are widely predicted to replace nickel metal-hydride batteries currently used in most hybrid vehicles, such as Toyota Co's
hot-selling Prius.But among the challenges to overcome are extending the life of high-power lithium batteries and bringing down their relatively high cost, Tien Duong of the U.S. Department of Energy said on the sidelines of a lithium battery conference held at this government laboratory."Life means 10 years, plus. For hybrids we know (their batteries) last 10 years plus. For the PHEV (plug-in electric vehicle), we don't know," Duong said. He did not specify what the costs should be....MORE
-- Honda Motor Co., first to lease hydrogen autos to U.S. drivers, said batteries haven't advanced enough to make rechargeable cars a good replacement for gasoline models and isn't following rivals who plan to sell plug-ins.
``For battery-powered vehicles to become more widespread, more popular in the market, we feel battery technology needs to advance further,'' said Masaaki Kato, president of Honda's research unit, in an interview at the Tokyo-based company's U.S. headquarters. Expectations for plug-ins are big and ``we don't know that that could be sustained right now,'' he said...MORE