ActaCell nabs $3 million for cheaper, better batteries for hybrids

Recently, we wrote about the move in the private sector to use electric and hybrid delivery trucks. Companies like FedEx and Frito Lay are tapping into benefits of greener cars — even ahead of the broader consumer market because they’re a hedge against volatile diesel prices and can pay returns more quickly.

On the GreenBeat: A123 opens battery plant, Siemens targets India

A123 opens largest lithium-ion battery plant in the U.S. The Livonia, Mich. plant will expand the company’s manufacturing capabilities by up to 600 megawatt-hours per year, with the goal of ramping up to a total 760M megawatt-hours by next year’s end. The announcement comes one year after A123 was awarded a $249 million grant as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. As GigaOm notes, A123’s IPO last year opened at $17 per share but now trades at less than $10 per share. Another Michigan-based battery player, Sakti3, made news last week for winning a $3.2 million investment from the venture capital arm of GM.

On the GreenBeat: A long road ahead for electric car batteries, how Cisco’s spree affects smart grids

Electric vehicles face a long road to progress when it comes to its lithium-ion batteries, IBM scientist Winfried Wilcke tells the New York Times. Advances in lithium-ion technology have been slow, says Wilcke, whose team is trying to develop a technology that would extend EVs’ range to 500 miles on a single charge (current EVs have a range of around 100 miles). He likens the long road ahead to “climbing Mount Everest.”