Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lithium and REE: Volkswagen, BYD May Team Up on Plug-In Cars. TNR.v, SQM, ROC, DAI, BYD, TTM, NSANY, RM.v, WLC.v, AVL.to, CLQ.v, GOOG, HUI, XAU, FXI

Lithium and REE race is on and you can still buy tickets to attend it. With news coming fast on developments of this market place and Green Mobility revolution becoming a reality Mr Dines could be right on the money again after his Uranium Bull warning back in 2003.

Nobody would like to miss the Next Big Thing and after Daimler's move into Tesla, automakers are buying time by striking partnerships around the globe. BYD with its battery technology and access to cheap workforce and Volkswagen with its auto technology, production base and distribution network means mass market for Electric Cars.

FRANKFURT -- Volkswagen AG said it and Chinese battery and auto maker BYD Co. will explore options for teaming up on hybrid and electric vehicles powered by lithium batteries, a move that highlights global auto makers' efforts to secure supplies of batteries for alternative vehicles.
The possibility being explored, say people familiar with the negotiations, is for Shenzhen-based BYD to become a supplier of a type of lithium-ion battery technology it developed for plug-in hybrid and all electric-battery cars.

Concerns over gasoline shortages and climate change have prompted a global race to commercialize affordable electric-battery cars and plug-in hybrids that get most of their power from batteries.
In addition to Volkswagen, BYD is also talking to Ford Motor Co. and another European auto maker about similar arrangements, those people said. The status of those negotiations, however, was not immediately clear. "We are always in discussions with many suppliers as a standard course of our business, but we have nothing to share at this time," said Whitney Small, a Ford spokeswoman in Bangkok.
Volkswagen would be the first major automotive partner for BYD, which moved into the spotlight last year when a company controlled by investor Warren Buffett invested $230 million in the Chinese car maker, mainly because of BYD's cost-effective technology. In December, BYD -- one of the biggest global producers of cell phone batteries and a fledgling but fast-rising auto maker in China -- caused a stir by launching a plug-in car ahead of more established foreign rivals.
"Hybrids and electric vehicles will play an increasingly important role," Volkswagen's executive board member for technical development, Ulrich Hackenberg, said in a statement. "Particularly for the Chinese market, potential partners such as BYD could support us in quickly expanding our activities."
Concerns over gasoline shortages and climate change have prompted a global race to commercialize affordable electric-battery cars and plug-in hybrids that get most of their power from batteries.
One major obstacle in the race is that there's not enough capacity in the industry to produce lithium-ion batteries -- a factor that is pushing auto makers like Volkswagen to team up with multiple lithium-ion battery suppliers. Aside from BYD, Volkswagen already has signed letters of intent with Japan's Sanyo Electric Co. and Toshiba Corp., another Japanese battery producer.
While lithium-ion batteries are seen as the technology that will ultimately power most plug-in cars, their successful use has been hindered by relatively high price, limited durability and safety concerns. BYD says it has largely resolved those issues by turning to a safer, more cost-effective technology called iron-phosphate-based lithium-ion technology.
Lithium-ion batteries produced in China are generally about half the cost of such batteries made in Japan and the West. Costs may rise later as Chinese auto makers invest to improve their technology.
Volkswagen's premium brand, Audi AG, last year had entered into cooperation with Sanyo on the development of lithium-ion technology, saying at the time the new battery technology should be ready for use in production in 2012.
Volkswagen said a memorandum of understanding with BYD was signed by Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn and BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu.
In March, Mr. Wang said BYD was in talks to supply batteries to two car makers in Europe and one in the U.S., but he didn't name them.
Last week, Volkswagen's German rival Daimler AG announced that it will buy a 10% stake in Silicon Valley electric-vehicle startup Tesla Motors Inc. for a "a sum in the double-digit millions of euros."
Daimler and Tesla are already cooperating to integrate Tesla's lithium-ion battery packs and charging electronics into the first 1,000 electric versions of Daimler's tiny Smart two-seater. As part of a closer tie-up, Daimler and Tesla will intensify the joint development of battery systems, electric-drive systems and individual vehicle projects."
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