Materials supplier BASF plans to invest more than €100m over the next five years researching new materials for batteries. A focus of the investment is the construction of a $50m production plant for advanced cathode materials in Elyria, Ohio. The plant is scheduled to supply cathode materials for high-performance lithium-ion batteries by mid-2012. In addition, the Ludwigshafen-based company has begun development of electrolyte materials, and it is researching future battery concepts such as lithium-sulphur or lithium-air. “With our research activities we are substantially contributing to making electric cars affordable, environment friendly and sustainable,” said Andreas Kreimeyer, the company’s research executive director. “For this we need batteries and further innovative components that provide a greater driving range with less weight and lower costs.” He added that plastics will play supporting roles in battery-powered vehicles, too. Designers will need to make vehicles lighter to compensate for the additional weight of batteries, and polymers will be needed to help manage improve heat management in electric cars. “If industry together with politics, science and society as a whole all pull in the same direction, electromobility will be successful and become an affordable and sustainable alternative to the classical internal combustion technology,” Kreimeyer said.