Nissan confirms their commitment to offer electric cars by 2010. The main risk with China sun is obviously that someone discovers a better anode material than LiCoO but I'm liking the companies chances for growth with the LiCoO currently being used in 90% of lithium batteries anyway.
Obviously you can't patent a raw material. For example, I discovered a mineral water, it doesn't mean you can't find the same water in a mountain stream and sell it in bottles. If someone does find a particular chemical, the only thing patentable is the process and method to use it in the batteries. But they still need raw materials