Bleg: International Relations and History
New York Times Death Spiral Watch (Nick Kristof Edition)

GM Off in the Gamma Quadrant: Lithium Versus Nickel Batteries...

Hoisted from Comments: Anonymous writes, apropos of GM exec Lutz's "belief" that the Chevy Volt will wipe the Toyota Prius off the map:

Grasping Reality with Both Hands: Economist Brad DeLong's Fair, Balanced, and Reality-Based Semi-Daily Journal: The base price of the Prius is $22K, it gets 50 MPG easily, and it's a ludicrously reliable, tested design. Did I mention that it's a hatchback you can fit a 6-seat dining table in? Toyota started selling hybrids in 1997. The Prius uses NiMH batteries that are expected to last 10 years plus.

The base price of the Volt will be $35K, it might or might not exist in 2011, it might get gas mileage almost as good as the Prius, it has little cargo room, and it will be a completely unproven design from a crappy manufacturer. Lithium-ion laptop batteries last 3 years and then die (regardless of use patterns), currently there is no solution, so unless GM has some magical Li-ion battery technology, the Volt battery pack will need to be replaced every three years. Expensive much?

I'm sure (cough cough) that the Volt will be a really big seller.