South Korea’s biggest chemical maker LG Chem, will deliver batteries for electric cars to China based Chongqing Changan Automobile.

LG Chem will begin delivering the lithium-ion batteries in the second half of this year, the South Korean company said in a statement Friday without disclosing the value of the contract.

LG Chem started delivering batteries to Hyundai and Kia last year. The company also signed supply contracts with GeneralMotors and Eaton. CEO Kim Bahn Suk said Jan. 29 the company is seeking orders from China and Europe.

Global demand for electric cars will increase from 900,000 vehicles last year to 3.3 million by 2013 and 4.6 million by 2015, LG said in June.

Bernhard named at Daimler

Daimler appointed Wolfgang Bernhard as head of production and procurement at Mercedes-Benz Cars, where he takes over from Rainer Schmueckle.

Bernhard will continue as head of Daimler’s vans unit, and Chairman Manfred Bischoff plans to add him to the management board, the Stuttgart, Germany-based company said in a statement Friday.

The 49-year-old worked at Daimler’s former Chrysler unit and was appointed to head Mercedes in 2004 before leaving to join Volkswagen after a dispute with then-CEO Juergen Schrempp. Current CEO Dieter Zetsche brought him back to Daimler via the vans unit last year.

“This should put Bernhard in a good position to succeed Zetsche,” said Rebecca Lindland, an automotive analyst with IHS Global Insight. “The vans project was an opportunity to reset his standing in the company and broaden his experience.”

Brazil’s auto output up 32%

Brazil’s vehicle production rose 32% to 243,425 vehicles in January from a year earlier, the country’s automaker association said.

Registrations of new cars, trucks and buses gained 8% to 213,312, Anfavea, as the association is known, said Thursday in Sao Paulo. Exports more than doubled to 44,828.

Japan’s mileage plan disputed

The U.S. is disappointed with Japan’s decision to use city mileage to determine which vehicles qualify for a cash-for-clunkers auto trade-in plan because it limits U.S.-made models, Trade Representative Ron Kirk said.

Not using the Environmental Protection Agency’s combined highway/city mileage in Japan’s program is “particularly unfortunate in light of its recent announcement to open opportunities for U.S. autos to qualify,” Kirk said last week in a statement.

More money for electric cars

The director of the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?” is filming the sequel, “Revenge of the Electric Car.”

Tesla could be cast as the dashing protagonist, while Better Place might be up for best supporting actor.

As for Coulomb Technologies, the Oscars might miss it altogether. Silicon Valley’s third entry in the race to electrify vehicular travel will never be as sexy as a Tesla Roadster or seem as futuristic as Better Place’s battery-switching robots. Coulomb’s logo, apt but dull, reimagines a gas pump as a standard three-prong electrical socket.

When Coulomb announced last week $14 million in second-round funding to advance its business model for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, the Campbell, Calif., startup gave more momentum to the EV revolution. The funding follows Tesla’s disclosure that it will seek an initial public stock offering and Better Place’s announcement of a $350-million investment as it prepares to roll out its technology in Israel and Denmark.

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