The global energy crisis has brought energy independence to the forefront of political agendas worldwide. Lithium provides a real alternative to oil-based technology. With some known lithium deposits located within the US, it also offers a tangible solution to the current issue of US energy dependence.
Motivated by the extreme potential of lithium technology, investors are jumping at the opportunity to get in on the ground floor. Toyota, Toshiba, Hitachi Co., NEC Corp., and Panasonic have all moved to secure long-term lithium supply. Automobile manufacturers are excited about the prospect of a more light-weight, power-dense battery, which will be able to store more energy than nickel-metal hydride batteries and propel automobiles longer distances on a single charge. General Motors’ “Volt,” to be released in 2010, is only the first lithium ion (Li-ion) powered automobile to hit the US market, with other automakers like Ford, Mitsubishi, Nissan and BMW not far behind. Not surprising at all when one considers that the global market for Li-ion batteries used in automobiles is forecast to increase 90-fold.