GM Up The Voltage
GM has awarded two contracts for the development of li-ion batteries for its E-Flex System. 13 companies submitted bids for the project, which is the basis for the Chevy Volt concept that caused quite a stir a while ago. From previous TH coverage;
"There are two things that make the Volt's E-flex drive train noteworthy. First, it is a series hybrid, which means power is fed directly to the motor, not the battery. It can be plugged into a household electric socket and charged fully within about six hours. Completely charged it can drive roughly 40 miles on electricity alone. According to GM, more than 75 percent of Americans live within 20 miles of where they work, meaning the Volt would get them to the office and back on 100% electricity with no direct emissions."One contract goes to a subsidiary of LG, CPI, and the other to Continental Automotive Systems. However, GM has said that they will continue exploring other options to bring these cars to market quicker. If some magical company crops us in the near future who can create li-ion batteries from thin air, then they will get them on-board. It's clear that this is not a production deal, but more an R&D; exercise. Denise Gray, GMs director of hybrid energy storage devices, said, 'This technology is developing rapidly. These contracts are an opportunity to deeply understand the differing battery technologies before making a production decision.'
Rick Wagoner, Chairman and CEO of GM, said, 'The signing of these battery development contracts is an important next step on the path to bring the Volt closer to reality. Given the huge potential that the Volt and its E-Flex system offers to lower oil consumption, lower oil imports, and reduce carbon emissions, this is a top priority program for GM.'
It's not a sign that Chevy Volt cars are to start emerging from factories - that's unlikely to happen in any real numbers until 2011. It is a good sign though. The money that GM is spending is likely to improve the quality of batteries that will be available for the vehicle. Even if GM doesn't go ahead with production (which is unlikely considering all the positive press that the Volt concept created), then that knowledge will still be out there, enabling other manufacturers to go ahead with their own projects. :: Auto Blog Green