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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 glennpratt on 9/3/2008 1:18:53 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps GM will include an automatic block heater by default, since there pretty cheap and the vehicle will be plugged in anyway.

Now you just need some fuel stabilizer.

RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By Alexvrb on 9/3/2008 8:44:36 PM , Rating: 2
Fuel stabilizer isn't a bad idea as long as you pay attention to the ratio on the back of the bottle. Heck, using fuel with 10% ethanol in a properly sealed tank will help prevent ice from forming in the fuel lines, etc.

As for including a block heater on all of them, when 95% of them sold won't need it? I doubt it. If you do need one, I'm sure you can get one installed either from the factory or aftermarket. It's a modern ICE with modern fluids and lubricants, and it is designed to fire up and run warm or cold at fixed RPMs. Now that I'm thinking about it, I'm not even really sure a block heater would help you at all, unless it was powered on the road by the onboard batteries. You could unplug the block heater, and drive off on battery power. Assuming the engine really did need to be preheated, if the climate is really that cold, won't the engine just be cold again by the time it needs to fire up to charge the batteries?

If you wanted to do something to help the motor in a cold enviroment, you could always use a good quality synthetic 0w30 (30 because I'm assuming this Ecotec motor will recommend 5w30 like other ecotecs). Also throw in the occasional dose of isopropanol (the preferred fuel system drier).

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