U.S.-based plug-in vehicle producers and battery makers are faced with a problem of epic proportions. A recent report released by the subscription news service ClimateWire suggests that U.S.-made electric cars – and the associated high-tech li-ion batteries produced on U.S. soil – face a maze of export restrictions that will force many of the companies to set up shop abroad.

Here's the potential problem: Li-ion batteries are bulky and incredibly heavy. Translation, they don't ship well, which impacts exports and imports. But, electric vehicles manufactured in the U.S. face trade restrictions that effectively block exportation to many countries. Translation, U.S. automakers can't profitably export them, whether it's China's "requests" or taxes and regulations in Europe. This is not at all surprising to U.S.-based battery manufacturers like A123 Systems and, in fact, export limitations were anticipated. But for the vast majority of American politicians, the realization that U.S.-based companies will have to set up shop abroad and employ foreign help to sell their high-tech gadgetry doesn't sit well.

A123 Systems vice president for automotive solutions, Jason Forcier, outlines the export issues and presents a feasible solution in this way:

Can we export our batteries to China? The answer is no. You have to build them in-country. And China's making sure that it happens by the way that they're structuring incentives. So European business will be won and made in Europe; Asian business will be won and made in Asia. Really, the key to growing the battery industry in the United States is, we have to create the demand, right here. Yes, we may not be the biggest auto industry in the world anymore, but the demand has to come from the U.S. in order to create energy independence and jobs in the United States

In order to keep jobs here, U.S. demand for EV components must rise. Otherwise, the risk of exporting yet another industry away from U.S. soil could be quite high.

[Source: Green Car Advisor]