The New Technology for Batteries

More than half the world's reserves of a mineral that could radically reduce our reliance on dwindling fossil fuels is located in Bolivia.

Lithium can help power the fuel efficient electric or petrol-electric hybrid future cars.

But, just like fossil fuels, it is a limited resource.

Lithium carbonate is already used to run the batteries of laptops and mobile phones.

It is used because it allows more energy to be stored in a lighter, smaller space than other fuels.

And as the auto industry rushes to produce more fuel efficient and electric cars, it  is choosing lithium batteries to boost the power of its new models.

GM uses lithium in its new hybrid Volt, Toyota is testing lithium in its next generation hybrid Prius. Mercedes and BMW are also testing an electric versions their Smart and Mini.

And Nissan-Renault, Mitsubishi and VW are trying to buy or produce enough of these batteries to power their future models.

The best of the pure electric cars can reach ranges of more than 100 miles per charge.

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