for the 97 and maybe later years, not quite accurate. a regular key has a transponder in the key plastic. for the IR fob, there is a transponder in the IR remote housing. If it disappears, like when disassembly the IR remote, the car won't start. The transponder is small black chip in the housing.The key is mechanical with a transponder chip inside and does not require any battery. It should be able to open all locks and drive the car.
The Fob with battery is just a remote transmitter to unlock the doors and trunk etc.