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The Future of Electric Batteries

As Detroit and the surrounding area moves from a one-industry region into a more uncertain future, one spinoff from the auto industry may play a big role. Electric batteries, which promise to power the cars of the future, could be a technology and employment leader for Michigan. Consulting firm Pike Research estimates that the global market for lithium-iron batteries could grow from $875.6 million this year to $8 billion by 2015. To support that, the Obama Administration has seeded the industry with several major grants.

What would you like to know about the future of electric batteries? On March 25, TIME correspondent Steven Gray will discuss the future of electric batteries with three leaders in the field: Nancy Gioia, director of global electrification at Ford Motor; Ann Marie Sastry, CEO of startup Sakti3; and Eric Shreffler, Sector Development Director of Advanced Energy Storage for the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Submit your questions for Gioia, Sastry and Sheffler below, then see the video coming soon on

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  • 1

    Battery research and production would certainly benefit Michigan's economy but there are serious questions that need answers.

    Questions for Nancy Gioia, Ann Marie Sastry, and Eric Sheffler:

    1) What is the life of and replacement cost for an
    automobile battery pack? I have heard as few as 4
    years at a cost of as much as $10,000.

    2) What effect does battery life and replacement cost
    have on the resale value of the vehicle?

    3) Can these battery packs be recycled?

    4) Is there an adequate supply of lithium at a
    reasonable cost? There have been reports that
    Toyota has control of the largest source.

    5) Is lithium toxic?

    6) Is lithium battery production a clean industry? Are
    toxic fumes emitted during production? What are
    the waste products? Is there a threat to our
    environment, our ground water?

    7) What states and/or countries are Michigan's biggest
    competitors for lithium ion battery research and

    8) Is there a technology under development that will
    seriously threaten to replace lithium ion batteries
    in the near future?

    Thank you.

  • 2

    I really hope that Michigan and Detroit get the
    Lions share of these jobs connected to the Electric batteries. It will have a great economic boost on our economy.

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