When Toyota announced its decision to enter into a joint
venture with California-based Tesla Motors Inc., it was a boon to lithium-based
battery technology. The venture is likely to deliver lithium battery technology
to a wider audience than the high-end specialty market. Nissan has also made a
commitment to lithium technology with its all-electric Leaf
which starts as low as $20,000 after rebates. The technology was first
mass-produced in the Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid which arrived in U.S. showrooms last
year. Toyota and Nissan are expanding the use of this technology by adding lithium
batteries to lower-end vehicles.
With a better understanding of materials’ response to load and temperature, researchers could potentially use the knowledge to improve design. The research could even help geologists studying plate tectonics.
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