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Lithium ion batteries will be used in many of the upcoming plug-in hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles because they are lighter and more powerful than the nickel-metal hydride batteries used in current hybrid vehicles. Global lithium production reached 22,800 tons in 2008. Lithium reserves are a topic of debate, with estimates ranging from 4 million tons to 20 million tons. The latest data show that Chile has the largest share of lithium production, while Bolivia has the largest reserves. The U.S. is responsible for less than 10% of lithium production.

Share of Lithium Reserves and Production by Country
Graph showing the share of lithium reserves and production by country including Chile, China, Australia, Russia, Argentina, U.S. and Bolivia. For more detailed information, see the table below.

Supporting Information

Sources of Lithium
Country Production Reserves
Chile 39.3% 22.1%
China 13.3% 16.2%
Australia 11.0% 2.4%
Russia 10.8% *
Argentina 9.8% 14.7%
United States 8.4% 6.0%
Bolivia 0.0% 39.7%

* Data are not available.
Source: Crain Communications, Automotive News, September 21, 2009, p. 34.
Original source: Meridian International Research, 2005 levels.

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