Hell hath no fury like a mobile-phone owner scorned.
In this case, LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony are among lithium-ion battery makers that have been subject to at least 10 class-action lawsuits alleging that the manufacturers engaged in price-fixing practices to keep prices up, the New Jersey Law Journal reports.
The group of companies subject to the lawsuit control as much as 90 percent of the cells in items such as mobile phones, cameras and laptop computers. Many of the claims were filed in California and New Jersey, where many of the Asia-based companies have US domestic divisions.
Even though the lawsuit does not target electric vehicle batteries directly, the allegations are topical because they involve lithium-ion battery costs. Those costs are considered one of the major hurdles electric-drive vehicles need to clear in order to make their cars price-competitive with conventional vehicles. Analysts such as McKinsey say the price of lithium-ion battery packs used in electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids may fall by as much as 70 percent by 2025 as manufacturing processes improve.
In all, lithium-ion batteries generated about $16 billion in revenue in 2012, up 14 percent from last year.