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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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RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By Doormat on 9/3/2008 12:52:28 PM , Rating: 2
8kWh worth of charge, plus about a 85% meter to battery efficiency, so really 9.4kWh.

If you live in the Pacific NW where electricity is cheap, it'll cost you about 75c for 40 miles.

If you live in California where its 12c/kWh, its $1.12 for 40 miles.

If you were to compare it to a Prius at 45MPG, excluding the initial price differential, gas prices would have to fall to between 85c/gal to $1.26/gal for gas to be as cheap as electricity.

At $3/gal, a Prius would use $800/yr at 12,000 mi/yr. A Volt would use around $282 in electricity (10,000 mi) and $200 in gasoline (2000 mi at 30MPGe from the generator), or $482 total, saving $318/yr. Not a lot, but you're practically immune to gas price spikes, you'd probably fill the cars tank once every 4-6 weeks, possibly with E85 (which I saw for $2.99 the other day). And unlike gas stations which change their prices once or more per day, my electric company has to go before the PUC to raise their rates.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By FITCamaro on 9/3/2008 12:58:53 PM , Rating: 2
The Volt is rated at somewhere around 45 MPG on the gas generator. Not 30 MPG. 45 MPG for such a large car is pretty damn good. People seem to forget its a hatchback. Not a compact. It's the size of the Subaru Outback.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By Doormat on 9/3/2008 1:44:47 PM , Rating: 2
Really? My own back of the envelope calcs said about 37MPG for gas and 30MPG for E85. I usually use the E85 number because (hopefully) by the time the volt is in mass production in 2011 we can use something other than corn and food supply for E85, and it'll be environmentally and financially viable to choose E85.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By therealnickdanger on 9/3/2008 2:18:34 PM , Rating: 3
All the PR so far claims 50MPG when relying on ICE to charge the battery.

I've seen a host of other figures floating around - but the 340-mile figure stands out as being either the TOTAL range or the ICE range. On an 8-gallon tank plus full charge, that either means 42.5MPG (40/300 bat/ICE) or 47.5MPG (40/340 bat/ICE). Since GM has been touting 50MPG, I would go with the latter being the case... but all this will change by the time Volt hits production lines.


By therealnickdanger on 9/3/2008 2:21:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
All the PR so far claims 50MPG when relying on ICE to charge the battery.

I've seen a host of other figures floating around - but the 360 -mile figure stands out as being either the TOTAL range or the ICE range. On an 8-gallon tank plus full charge, that either means 45MPG (40/320 bat/ICE) or 50MPG (40/360 bat/ICE) . Since GM has been touting 50MPG, I would go with the latter being the case... but all this will change by the time Volt hits production lines.


Fixed.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By shin0bi272 on 9/3/2008 8:17:29 PM , Rating: 2
The EPA has stated that ethanol made from corn is 15-20% less polluting than gasoline but its 20-30% less fuel efficient than the same amount of gasoline. So your best hope is to break even on the pollution angle. In most cases its much worse for the precious environment than gasoline but no one mentions that in their push for ethanol. It also releases more toxic vapors that are more poisonous than what comes out of the gasoline car.

You have to remember Oil is a natural product too. It comes from the earth and to process it we heat it to 700 degrees till it evaporates and what ever level in the cooling tower at the refinery it condenses at determines what product we have. So in all truth Oil is a natural product and ethanol is a man made product that we take from corn (yeah good idea use food to run our cars that wont drive food costs up nooo), and add chemicals to in order to make it combustible enough to power our cars.

Ethanol is a horrible idea and we need to abandon it IMMEDIATELY. Cellulosic ethanol has less energy in it than corn ethanol and there hasnt been any real advancement in that area either otherwise we'd of seen it already. Cellulosic ethanol has been around for about 110 years (first produced from wood in 1898 in Germany) so obviously its a waste of time compared to the power we get from oil.

My last point about ethanol is simply this... If ethanol were a better alternative than gasoline then it would be brought to market without having to be federally subsidized or any laws being passed to fund its use.


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