One of the big problems that's rarely discussed in the tizzy around hybrid electric and plug-in electric vehicles becoming massively adopted is the availability of the batteries that power them. Today, there are no U.S. plants that can build large quantities of lithium-ion batteries for use in cars.
That’s why 14 U.S. tech companies will ask for $1 billion in federal aid from the Obama administration to build such a plant stateside. Among the companies are 3M Corp, Johnson Controls and smaller firms like Mobius Power, which couldn’t afford to build a large-scale plant on its own.
Most of today’s lithium-ion plants are based in Asia, where labor costs are lower. It’s also hard for U.S. companies to raise funds for an advanced facility when the products that will need them, like the Chevy Volt, aren’t in production yet.
U.S. Firms Join Forces to Build Car Batteries (Wall Street Journal)