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Battery Technology Drags On Electric Car Market
01 Mar 2012 EST - CNBC.com
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Electric vehicles will continue to generate hype at auto shows around the world, but today’s limited battery technology will prevent them from crowding dealer lots for years to come.

“I’m a skeptic about EVs,” says Greg Payne, VP of portfolio management with Toronto-based Greenchip Financial, a firm specializing in sustainable investment. “You’re talking about a premium product.”

The industry-standard lithium ion battery has plateaued in terms of capacity, and Payne says new technologies to stretch that capacity don’t look promising for the near term.

“Rapid charging is years away,” he says, and plans to swap out batteries at a service station along your commute is “not going to work” since no battery or car manufacturer can agree on a single format of battery.

Even though a dozen models at the recent Detroit Auto Show incorporated advanced battery power, and new EV models from companies including FordMotor , Tesla and Mitsubishi will hit showrooms this year, clean teach research analyst John Gartner expect EVs to remain a tiny part of the market for several more years.

“We’ve scaled back our sales forecasts,” says Gartner, of Pike Research. “It’s still looking like it’s not going to crack 1 percent [of total vehicles sales] until 2015.”

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