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GM's Bob Lutz  (Source: Photobucket/willfusion)

Production Chevrolet Volt
GM gives a thumbs up to the Volt's battery pack

General Motors' Bob Lutz made headlines earlier today for his comments on crash testing for European-designed vehicles. Lutz argued that differing crash testing standards are preventing the GM from bringing over smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles from Europe that would help the company boost its Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE).

When Lutz isn't championing GM's efforts to pump the U.S. market full of high quality, fuel efficient vehicles with traditional internal combustion engines (ICEs) and drivetrains, he is singing the praises of the upcoming Chevrolet Volt. In the latest saga of the Volt's development, Lutz proclaims that testing of the vehicle's lithium-ion battery pack is going smoothly.

"We haven't hit any obstacles so far for the batteries," remarked Lutz to Kicking Tires. "They are all performing flawlessly. It's almost scary we are not seeing any problems with the batteries."

Lutz went on to explain that the batteries have been subjected to numerous reliability and durability tests which encompass rigorous road testing and extreme temperature variances. That being said, the battery life of the lithium-ion battery is a concern for GM. As a result, the battery along with other powertrain components will be covered under a 10-year warranty.

"We're being conservative on battery life. For our cost calculations we're assuming each car will need a replacement during the warranty period," added Lutz.

Lithium-ion batteries -- when used to provide 100% propulsion for a vehicle -- have largely been untested on a large scale in the U.S. auto market. There have been niche players like Tesla Motors with its Roadster, which features a 6,381 cell lithium-ion battery pack, but it also carries a hefty $100,000+ price tag.

GM's Volt, on the other hand, is expected to carry a much more palatable price of around $40,000 to $45,000 before the requisite government rebates and tax credits.

The Chevrolet Volt was recently spied on the set of the “Transformers 2” set wearing what appeared to be production bodywork. Shortly before the exterior was spied, picture of the Volt’s interior was also leaked for the world to see.



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By Misty Dingos on 9/3/2008 12:48:24 PM , Rating: 2
The hybrid car design is as yet to be market proven. It is at the current time a government subsidized market. Until the hybrid designs are stripped of their government blanket it is impossible to tell if they will be a purchase worth making.

One thing I will say is that the hybrids long term costs (battery replacement) is something that hasn't been truly addressed. Once the battery pack is spent it will have to be replaced at great expense. If this cost is foisted on to the used car market it will destroy the resale value of the hybrid cars.

Also hybrid cars life span is in contrast to a public that is buying cars for longer periods of time as opposed to buying new cars every few years. If I were a car manufacturer I would love hybrids. A car with a five year life span and then requires replacement. This in contrast to the new vehicle I bought in 95 and am still driving today and plan to drive to at least 2015.

The cheapest car you will ever own is the one you own today.


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