Albemarle Corp., the world’s biggest producer of lithium, is fast-tracking advanced forms of the metal that could result in better batteries for electric vehicles.

A new lab in North Carolina will develop lithium products two to three times faster than previously, Chief Technology Officer Glen Merfeld said Wednesday, June 30. In particular, they’ll use cell-phone-sized custom samples to test out how well a lithium-concoction will work with, for example, new car models. That’s a process that currently takes months and happens off-site at manufacturers.

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