Whenever two companies work together on a project that is both positive in an environmental light and can help to bring jobs to many areas, it is a cause for something noteworthy. With the planned expansion of development of the li-ion battery for consumer and hybrid car use as well as new, wider reaching smart grid capabilities, GE and A 123 have been able to make an important contribution to automotive technology. New jobs will be created in existing facilities in both Massachusetts and Michigan and a new factory is proposed in Michigan. The companies plan to be able to supply the battery systems for up to five million hybrid cars by 2013. An alternate plan would be to provide a half million plug in electric cars in the same time frame.The lithium ion battery for automotive use is an important step forward as there are nearly twenty new electric or hybrid cars planned for release in the coming years with two of them slated for 2010, including one from the Chinese automaker, SAIC. Lithium ion batteries are lighter and have better energy storage than other battery types, making them a good product for the automotive world where light weight and high energy are the keys to making a better hybrid or electric car. The lighter the overall weight of the car, the less energy it will use to move over greater distances.Lithium is created by extracting the briny liquid from under the surface of dried salt pond water and drying it in the sun. From this, the compound, lithium carbonate is formed. This is then distilled to make lithium. The debate is on concerning lithium and lithium ion batteries by all who are concerned about the ecological, economic and political health of the country. The lithium ion battery is lighter, and manages more electricity for its weight than any other battery type on the current market. However, it is not a long lasting battery and is quite a bit more expensive than others as well.In addition to expanding the development, quality and overall value of the lithium ion battery, GE and A123 are working on ways to increase the use of smart grid, utility scale energy storage in many areas of the country. Using smart grid technology allows for smarter consumers as they can watch their energy usage in real time and will hopefully make better choices accordingly. For those who are using other energy sources, the smart grid will allow them to sell back their excess energy to the grid to lessen the need for more harmful natural resources.