Dozens of smaller companies are racing toward a lithium payday. Some say that their lithium batteries will solve all our transportation problems, and make hydrogen fuel cells immediately irrelevant. The major car companies are not taking the wild claims very seriously, but some battery companies have attracted wider attention. In Nov., A123 Systems, a private company in Watertown Mass., unveiled a lithium battery that earned them $32 million in funding from big name investors, such as Sequoia Capital, Motorola, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The company is working with Department of Energy on the development of lithium ion batteries for hybrid vehicles. Lithium iron phosphate batteries from Valence Technology, a publicly traded company based in Austin, Tex., are being used in Segway electric scooters and a much publicized converted plug-in Prius.
Panasonic Japan is in this business of manufacturing lithium-ion batteries for computers for quiet sometime now. They also manufacture the normal bulky rechargeable batteries meant for cars and other vehicles. However, with the announcement of using computer batteries for cars, Panasonic has become first electronic company to venture into advanced battery making for automobiles. Usually these kinds of batteries for electric vehicles are being created by established automakers or small companies which specialize in with manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles.