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Chevrolet Volt
GM is predicted to sell a total of 50,000 cars with electrification technologies this year

General Motors is looking to take huge strides in the way of electric vehicles (EV) and electric batteries: it wants to produce 500,000 EVs per year, and it wants to use Chevrolet Volt batteries to power homes during blackouts.

According to GM, it wants to sell 500,000 vehicles equipped with its electric technologies (plug-ins, EVs, hybrids) annually by 2017. If GM is able to do this, EVs would make up 5.5 percent of its total annual sales.

This is a pretty big jump considering GM is predicted to sell a total of 50,000 cars with electrification technologies this year.

GM is taking EVs very seriously, and is proving that by focusing on its next generation propulsion technology that is currently powering the Volt. GM is looking into new ways of using extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) technology.

Speaking of the Volt, GM is looking to use the EV's battery pack in an innovative way: powering homes in the event of an outage.

GM partnered with automation and power technologies company ABB Group as well as Duke Energy to find useful applications for EV batteries after they've been exhausted in vehicles.

The end result was a unit that contains five Volt lithium-ion battery packs that can provide two hours of electricity to three to five U.S. homes during a blackout. According to GM, the unit can provide 25 kilowatt hours of power and 50 kilowatt hours of energy.

"This is an industry first to be able to do secondary automotive batteries in a grid-based application," said Pablo Valencia, GM's senior manager of battery lifecycle management.

GM said the battery could last 10 years on the road and another 10 years as part of the power unit for blackouts.

Duke Energy is looking to install the unit in a North Carolina neighborhood for testing in 2013.

Source: The Detroit News

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I'm ready
By aurareturn on 11/15/2012 8:26:12 PM , Rating: 2
I'm ready to switch to EVs. I am so sick of the gas price game. I hate having gas prices to control our economy. Build some nuclear plants and let's all go EV.

I'm even willing to forgo the low miles per charge rating. Just give me a well made and cheap EV. I'm ready to jump.

RE: I'm ready
By Hector256 on 11/15/2012 8:46:15 PM , Rating: 2
The vehicle you're looking for doesn't exist. There's no such thing as a well-made, cheap EV. We're stuck with expensive cars with low miles per charge and batteries that don't last. There's not much of a market for these things.

Maybe in a few years..... but I'm not holding my breath.

btw, to the author: kw/hr is a unit of energy, not power. Should be 25 kw of power, 50 kw/hr of energy.

RE: I'm ready
By havoti97 on 11/15/2012 9:30:56 PM , Rating: 1
Dude, power x time = energy, ie Kw*hr

Kw/hr is a unit of power per time

RE: I'm ready
By avxo on 11/16/2012 6:10:25 AM , Rating: 2
Let's take a step back:

The watt is a unit of power, and measures the rate of energy transfer. It is defined to be equal to 1 Joules per second.

A watt-hour (W•h) is a unit of energy. It tells you how much energy something consumes.

Watts per hour (W/h) is a unit of change of power per hour.

RE: I'm ready
By HoosierEngineer5 on 11/16/12, Rating: -1
RE: I'm ready
By Mint on 11/16/2012 2:55:50 PM , Rating: 2
Why on earth are you blaming GM instead of Tiffany?

RE: I'm ready
By poi2 on 11/16/2012 3:07:56 PM , Rating: 2
Because GM stands for Godzilla Mobster

RE: I'm ready
By avxo on 11/16/2012 7:23:42 PM , Rating: 2
Regardless, I wouldn't buy anything from a company that measures power in kilowatt-hours. They have no clue as to what they are talking about.

But they aren't measuring power - they are measuring energy. It's sad to see an engineer (any kind of engineer) who doesn't know the difference between power and energy...

For measuring energy, kW·h is a perfectly appropriate unit. It's true that kW·h isn't the usual metric for batteries (which are described in terms of Ampere Hours) to account for the fact that voltage varies during discharging, making the conversion to kW·h approximate.

But considering that all the electrical utilities I know use kW·h for the amount of "electricity" people use, using it in this context makes perfect sense.

RE: I'm ready
By Mint on 11/16/2012 2:53:51 PM , Rating: 4
You're being short-sighted by looking only at pure EVs.

Plugin hybrids (PHEVs) offload 50-90% of their fuel usage to the grid while using a fraction of the battery capacity of a pure EV. On top of that, they have no range limitation due to our gas infrastructure.

The cost is really minimal now. The CMax Energi is only $1000 more than the similarly equipped CMax Hybrid SEL after tax credit, and only $4750 more without the credit. That's an easy lifetime win on gas savings. The Fusion Energi has the same powertrain, so I expect similar calculations there.

There's more advances to come as well. It's much, much cheaper to double electric motor power than combustion engine power. Now that we're clearing the initial hurdle, progress is going to come rapidly.

Yeah, an EV with a low MSRP would be nice, but used PHEVs should be very reliable due to the limited miles on the gas engine and proven industry robustness of electric motors, so let the trickle down effect work there. With 200M cars in the US, it was never going to be a quick fix to get off gas/diesel.

RE: I'm ready
By freedom4556 on 11/16/2012 3:19:11 AM , Rating: 2
I hate having gas prices to control our economy.
It's not going to matter one whit to the economy until they figure out how to power the 18-wheelers for 12 hours a day and a million miles between rebuilds on something other than diesel.

RE: I'm ready
By FITCamaro on 11/16/2012 7:39:18 AM , Rating: 1

RE: I'm ready
By DanNeely on 11/16/2012 9:02:18 AM , Rating: 3
Big trucks might use a disproportionate share of fuel/vehicle; but they only consume 20% of the US total. While the much larger fraction of TCO fuel makes up in that vehicle class means they'll jump on anything that can boost their fuel economy much faster than typical consumers will; increases in passenger car efficiency have 4x the room to reduce energy consumption/emissions.

RE: I'm ready
By DanNeely on 11/16/2012 9:09:36 AM , Rating: 2
Can't edit so...

Looking a bit more closely at the chart in the paper instead of just the text it looks like I misinterpreted it; the total being compared against includes non-vehicle use. Big trucks are 20% of fuel use in the US, but lighter are only a bit more than twice as large a consumption share at ~45%.

RE: I'm ready
By Spuke on 11/16/2012 12:06:02 PM , Rating: 2
Big trucks are 20% of fuel use in the US, but lighter are only a bit more than twice as large a consumption share at ~45%.
Not knowing what you mean by this.

RE: I'm ready
By acer905 on 11/16/2012 6:46:17 PM , Rating: 2
... Algae derived Bio-diesel/electric hybrid?

By kleinma on 11/15/2012 9:02:29 PM , Rating: 2
As someone who just had no power for over a week, and had no power for 5 days during last October's storm, I am not against the concept, but 2 hours?? Not exactly going to keep the milk fresh.

RE: well
By Ringold on 11/15/2012 10:22:55 PM , Rating: 1
That's for 3 to 5 homes, and doesn't talk much about what sort of actual power would be output.

I did the math, and then DT ate my post, but I reckoned a semi-modern (post-2001 at least) side-by-side could last between 1 and 2 weeks easily off a Volt, assuming you turned most everything else off in the home except for cell phones and maybe a power-miserly tablet or laptop.

And assuming its whole battery is allowed to be used, the whole 16.5kwh. Scale appropriately if not.

And then that doesn't include if you can use the cars ICE to recharge the battery. Then you've got long enough that the milk would go bad regardless.

RE: well
By Jedi2155 on 11/15/2012 10:53:14 PM , Rating: 1
It says exactly how much power and energy in the article now. 25 kW and 50 kWh.

For reference, my 10 year old+ GE 26.7 cu. Ft. refrigerator uses about 2 kWh a day when half loaded with food, and a new 31 cu Ft. units probably use closer to 1 kWh a day. If people were only running their fridges and basic appliances/lighting during this time, then these systems could last a multiple days.

I know when I lived with my parents house of 6 people uses about 15-20 kWh/day for a 1400 sq. ft. home. 50 kWh can definitely power every home.

Regarding EV's during hurricane Sandy, there were a few smart owners who did plenty well using public chargers and home natural gas generators to charge their vehicles versus the millions who didn't have gasoline or power at their homes.

Seems EV win with Hurricane Sandy!

RE: well
By ebakke on 11/15/2012 11:39:39 PM , Rating: 2
Seems EV win with Hurricane Sandy!
Neat observation, and props for being a glass-half-full kind of person. All I could see before your post was the epic fail of government, and citizens.

RE: well
By Samus on 11/16/2012 1:34:17 AM , Rating: 2
GM also talked up the ability to have the Volt power your home in a power outage situation. So does Ford.

Doesn't the Volt have a 15kw battery or something? That means it stores 15,000 watts of power. Since a refrigerator/freezer uses ~600 watts of power, that means you could run it for at least 27 hours non-stop (which refrigerators don't do, realistically you'd get at least a week out of it with moderate opening/closing.)

A full home uses about 10kw/day (the average annual electric bill is around 300kw/h a month according to my ComEd bill with a statistic from the EPA. So these cars in "generator" mode would power your home for at least 1.5 days if you continued using everything as if the power never went out. That's pretty good!

RE: well
By Mint on 11/16/2012 3:26:12 PM , Rating: 2
You can certainly cut back as well. A modern refrigerator uses a little over 1kWh per day, and another kWh for lights, microwave, cellphone, etc should let you get by almost a week on an EV battery in emergency circumstances.

RE: well
By inperfectdarkness on 11/16/2012 4:23:29 AM , Rating: 2
if you really want uninterupted power, you need a disel generator & a sizable fuel tank (500 gallon or so).

i also recommend buying a shotgun and getting some guard dogs because unprepared people will want to leech off those who HAVE prepared.

RE: well
By PaFromFL on 11/16/12, Rating: -1
RE: well
By DanNeely on 11/16/2012 9:06:10 AM , Rating: 2
How reliable is natural gas after a hurricane? If it generally survives intact it seems like it would be a winner since the fuel is delivered directly to your house and doesn't need to be stored in advance.

RE: well
By PaFromFL on 11/16/2012 11:34:28 AM , Rating: 2
Natural gas is not available where I live, but some people have propane tanks. The problem with natural gas during major windstorms is that dwelling damage can cause leaks and fires (they need to develop natural gas "circuit breakers"). If a few homes are damaged, I'd suspect authorities would turn off the natural gas to the entire neighborhood.

BTW, the most reliable utility in my area is the telephone landline. City water is also pretty reliable but runs out after a few days with no electricity for the water pumps.

RE: well
By jimbojimbo on 11/16/2012 12:40:41 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, because you get 1 week power outages all the time right? Most outages only last a few hours so this would work just fine. I would love basically a giant UPS installed on my house.

misguided nonsense
By Shadowmaster625 on 11/16/2012 9:20:39 AM , Rating: 1
The best we can ever hope for in the near future is a very simplified gasoline generator to generator electricity to drive an efficient electric motor. (ie a series hybrid) There is potential here to reduce remissions dramatically, as well as deliver mileage better than the best european diesel cars. A gasoline generator meant to run at one speed can be much simpler, cheaper, more efficient, and cleaner burning than an actual fullblown engine with cams, valves, variable throttle, expensive and complex control systems, etc. The generator can charge a small battery so that it can spend most of its time off during city driving. It makes so much more sense no matter what angle you approach it from. You cut out 95% of the cost of a battery, and you cut out thousands from the cost of a complex motor. And all you add is a relatively simple generator, and a relativly simple electric motor which can both be brought down in price dramatically in 500,000 unit builds. We're talking less than $500 apiece when produced in those quantities. And of course you'd probably want to throw in regenerative braking, which pretty much pays for itself.

But this damned stupid solyndrafied government and the stupid know-nothings running it have decided that they know best how to manage a market , and so we're all damned to spend billions on massive malinvestments which only hinder progress toward that which a free market could have brought, that which is I believe what I just described in the previous paragraph. So all you pathetic nanny-state worshipping morons, I hope you're happy with what you've allowed.

RE: misguided nonsense
By Dr of crap on 11/16/2012 10:00:33 AM , Rating: 2
So your saying that a EV could be made for LESS than the average car right now ????

AND why doesn't any car maker have this? Seems you have some knowledge no one else has come up with. Care to share it?

RE: misguided nonsense
By Mint on 11/16/2012 4:31:59 PM , Rating: 2
A gasoline generator meant to run at one speed can be much simpler, cheaper, more efficient, and cleaner burning than an actual fullblown engine with cams, valves, variable throttle, expensive and complex control systems, etc.
And what is this magical engine without cams and valves?

Are you talking about a microturbine? Sorry to bust your bubble, but they are substantially LESS efficient than the best internal combustion engines. They are used in airplanes because they are extremely reliable. Atkinson cycle ICEs are better at extracting energy from expanding gases than turbine blades.

Also, do you realize that the Volt is basically a series hybrid? Over a narrow range of highway speeds, the engine can assist, but otherwise it's only used to power the generator.

By FITCamaro on 11/16/2012 7:41:10 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously. I just laughed hard at this.

And what do they use to back the thought of them selling roughly double the number of Volts next year as this year?

By kattanna on 11/16/12, Rating: 0
By Mint on 11/16/2012 7:40:37 PM , Rating: 2
The Volt has sold ~3,000 per month for three months now. That's more than twice as much as this time last year.

EVs are picking up in sales faster than hybrids did when they came out.

Sorry to ruin your day. I know you take joy in thinking the EV market will fail.

Interesting idea...
By Hulk on 11/16/2012 2:48:30 PM , Rating: 2
The Volt has a 16kWHr battery, of which about 10kWHr is available. Use more than that and you being to cut down on the life of the battery.

Assuming, using a transfer switch you could backfeed your house via the Volt you'd have about 10kWHr of energy available. That could run your fridge and a few lights for about 10 hours assuming you have a fairly modern refrigerator (last 8 or so years) and non-incandescent lights. Not bad actually. Those numbers come from my experience with Hurricane Sandy. Using my Honda inverter generator and Kill-A-Watt, I'd use on average about 1kW per hour. I was running the fridge, some lights, and a few LCD TV's. When the compressor on the fridge isn't running it hardly uses any electricity at all.

RE: Interesting idea...
By Mint on 11/16/2012 7:31:40 PM , Rating: 2
A good fridge uses a little over 1kWh per day, not per hour:
Unless you're keeping the door open, of course...

The Volt's battery can dip into most of the full 16kWh in an emergency like a power outage without noticeably affecting battery life. Just don't do it 300 times a year, as normal daily driving does.

By Dr of crap on 11/16/2012 8:26:31 AM , Rating: 2
So I can't believe the first post on here was really GM?

They wanted to sell a lot of Volts and have sold only handfull in the real world of the buying public. So that was a bust. Now they come out again and state some sky high number and expect us to believe them?


And as for powering our homes when the power goes out - again really. That's your selling point? That might work in the NE part of the country where they had a power problem.

GM expects people to want to fork over extra money for these EV because not only will they take them to work, but keep the ice cream fozen when the power is out! I can buy a generator for way less that will do as good or better job.
And what happens after the batteries are run down in the EV - no power, no recharge!

A good PR try right after Sandy, but an epic fail for GM.
They can't be serious!

GM won't last long enough...
By talikarni on 11/16/2012 12:34:18 PM , Rating: 1
GM won't last, at least not without a second bailout:

By deadrats on 11/17/2012 11:03:02 PM , Rating: 1
and read the same tired arguments against EV's and related green technologies, I'm reminded of the history channel's masterpiece titled "the men who built america", specifically the one about j.p. morgan and edison, the same crap that is said today was said then about the then new technology of electric lights, the same fear mongering, ignorance and idiotic objections. today no one would argue that gas light and kerosene lamps are superior to electric lights but back when the technology was still in it's infancy there where many who launched smear campaigns in order to discredit it and frighten the public against wanting it.

same thing with electric cars and green/alternative fuels, we need to take the first steps, so that the generations that follow us can reap the rewards, just like our predecessors did for us.

Innovating for the future
By Windogg on 11/18/2012 4:19:04 PM , Rating: 1
Electric will be a large part of future vehicles whether they are hybrids, partial EV, or full EVs. While the current infrastructure to support wide EV adoption is not in place for a large part of the country, it's growing. In the next 10 years, going all electric in dense urban areas will be common IMHO. I am surprised at how many people into technology and innovation are so against EVs.

I love my Chevy Volt. Costs me an average of $1 to drive 45 miles. The X5 4.8i and M5 gets driven grudgingly. My fiance and I fight over who takes the Volt. "No, you take BMW today. I had to take them yesterday." I don't miss internal combustion engines at all.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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