Start Your Engines

Start Your Engines

Although a mainstream market for electric cars may be a decade or more away, governments and companies worldwide are spending massive amounts of money to gain an edge in supplying batteries for them. Here are some key players

A123 (U.S.)

This MIT spin-off has $250 million in venture capital. It supplies small quantities of batteries to Daimler, Volvo, and Chrysler and wants $1.8 billion in federal aid to build plants in the U.S.

AESC (Japan)

This joint venture between Nissan and NEC may have the deepest pockets. It plans to invest $275 million in facilities to produce lithium-ion cells for a wide range of vehicles.

BYD AUTO (China)

One of the world's top battery makers, BYD already offers a $22,000 plug-in hybrid in China and hopes to sell cars in the U.S. soon. Warren Buffett owns 10%.

ENERDEL (U.S.)

Once part of Delphi, EnerDel has invested $200 million in an Indiana plant. Its biggest customer is struggling Norwegian hybrid carmaker Think. EnerDel wants $480 million in U.S. loans.

JOHNSON CONTROLS-SAFT (U.S.-France)

This joint venture has a factory in France and has deals with Mercedes, BMW, and Ford. Johnson Controls' edge: It's already a top supplier of conventional car batteries.

LG CHEM (Korea)

A leading maker of lithium-ion batteries for cell phones, LG outflanked U.S. rivals to win a deal to supply GM's Chevy Volt plug-in. GM plans to assemble LG batteries in Michigan.

PANASONIC (Japan)

After buying Sanyo's lithium-ion business, Panasonic may be the company to beat since it's allied with mighty Toyota, which is planning an electric car for 2012.

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