Blog Post

German Battery Makers Link Up to Catch Up

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

basf_logoAsia is the region to beat when it comes to cutting-edge battery technology. But there are groups in both Europe and North America that are forming with an eye to stealing some of that Asian dominance in what could someday be a booming market for electric and hybrid vehicle batteries. The latest move comes from chemical giant BASF, which said this week that it’s heading up a newly formed battery consortium in Germany that’s scored €21 million ($27.9 million) in funding from the German federal government.

Called “HE-Lion,” the consortium is made up of 18 industry, research, and university partners, including Volkswagen, the Fraunhofer Institute, and the University of Berlin. BASF said the partners will collectively put up an additional €21 million for the consortium.

The group plans to work over the next 4-6 years to develop and bring to market efficient, high-performing, and safe lithium-ion batteries for use in plug-in hybrids and full electric vehicles. Germany seems to be picking up the pace from where it was a couple of years ago, when Agence France-Presse noted that the Germans were said to be “plodding along behind” in battery technology. The HE-Lion consortium is part of a larger research effort in Germany, the Lithium-Ion Battery LIB 2015 alliance, that’s aiming to bring better batteries to market by 2015.

U.S. companies have adopted a similar strategy of joining together to combat the Asian dominance of the battery market. Late last year, more than a dozen U.S. technology companies formed their own battery consortium, and they hope to get $1 billion in government funding for a plan to build a next-gen battery plant in the U.S.

Of course, while pushing for home-grown technology may be a good way for companies to score federal funds both in Germany and the U.S., some of those same companies are still heading to Asia for battery deals. In February, Volkswagen signed a deal to work with Japan’s Toshiba on developing electric vehicles, including the development of high-energy density battery systems. And General Motors (s GM) has hooked up with Korea’s LG Chem for its hybrid battery needs.

7 Responses to “German Battery Makers Link Up to Catch Up”

  1. Bill Loomis

    I am also looking for a battery for a fumalux fl 400 cigerette lighter. The battery reads made in Germany, type RL 4 rulag. Are these still available. Thank you, Bill

  2. wayne fager

    I’m looking for a Magna cigarette lighter battery. It has made in germany on the battery also RULAG, LCN, Type RL4 battery. Can anyone please help me find this battery?

  3. Lithium is exotic and scarce…so let’s build an industy with it! Nickel is cheap, and everywere, a proven technology…what should we do? I know…bend over and let the oil industry give us one in the pocket book…again. Come on sheeple, write your representatives..if you even know thier names… and demand your nickel based batteries. We should have had electric cars common place by 1973. We have been raped for 30 years. The election is over, gas prices are going up regardless of demand! They have to. That’s where the bulk of the tax revenue is made to pay for the Iraq oil aquisition. The cost of which was primarily fuel expense. Can you see the vicious cycle? Demand electric vehicals, demand nickel.