Intel Eyes Venture Into Car Batteries

Could the company that powers your computer someday power your car?

The world's largest builder of microprocessors is getting a hard shove by its former chairman, Andrew Grove (pictured), to explore making car batteries. Though retired, Grove still advises Intel, and he's very interested in convincing his former company to get in on the ground floor of what he thinks is the next major industry.

If the U.S. and automakers do begin making a large-scale transition to plug-in electric cars, one of the major hurdles will be manufacturing the necessary batteries. Companies that have the capacity to supply them are mostly foreign, from Sanyo to Panasonic. Smaller American companies, like A123 Systems, have made strides (they're working with GM on the Volt), but for the most part there is very little EV battery production capacity in the U.S.

Should Intel try to change this dynamic, it will face several obstacles. Not the least of those is the economic crisis, which has cut into the company’s sales; it saw a 12% decline from the third to the fourth quarter. Intel has a good amount of cash and investment money to work with ($12 billion as of Sept. 30, which makes it one of the more stable companies right now), but a battery venture will mean hiring all-new battery experts and creating new factories and supply chains from scratch — not a cheap proposition.

Ex-Chief Says Intel Should Power Cars (The Wall Street Journal)


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