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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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Am I the only one here who is NOT a skinflint?
By Davelo on 9/3/2008 3:06:01 PM , Rating: 2
Seems everybody here only cares whether or not a Volt will save them a few bucks. Nobody ever thought to ask the hard questions about real life expectations. I would be curious to know what the battery range is when the AC or heater is on. Also, what kind of performance can be expected? Will it be able to do 0 to 60 in less than 10 seconds?

By Spuke on 9/3/2008 3:28:09 PM , Rating: 2
It's supposed to do 0-60 in 8.5 seconds. The battery range can be anywhere from 13-130 miles, supposedly, based on driving style and environmental conditions.

By Hoser McMoose on 9/4/2008 8:55:49 PM , Rating: 2
I would be curious to know what the battery range is when the AC or heater is on.

It will get worse mileage with air conditioning turned on, EXACTLY like how a gasoline powered vehicle gets worse mileage with the AC on. In fact the Volt should be better in this regard since it will be generating less waste heat that needs to be counteracted.

Same goes for radio, lights, etc. ALL of these things drain power. With the Volt most of that power will come from very high efficiency Li-Ion batteries and an electrical generator. With a conventional vehicle that power comes from gasoline through a fairly low efficiency alternator.

Heating might be the only exception to this rule. Because internal combustion engines are so inefficient they generate TONS of heat. You're heat in a conventional vehicle is "free", it's heat that would otherwise need to be bled off through your radiator. By virtue of being MUCH more efficient at using energy the Volt will generate significantly less waste heat. The plus side is that the AC needs to work less hard, the downside is that it might need to use some electrical power for actual heat.

As for performance, GM's official line is that it'll do 0-60mph in 8.5 seconds. Unofficially they're sandbagging, this car will shock the pants off most people when it comes to performance. I'd be very surprised if 0-60 times are more than 7 seconds.

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