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The 2011 Chevy Volt at CES 2010

The Volt's warranty matches that of industry leader Toyota's Prius warranty in most states.  (Source: GM)

The Volt undergoes shake testing.  (Source: GM)
Claims that the competitors don't come close

IPads, laptops, or cell phones typically come with at best a one-year battery warranty.  The Tesla Roadster comes with a three-year, 36,000 mile warranty.  However, GM is going to offer and unprecedented eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on the advanced lithium-ion battery found in its upcoming 2011 Chevy Volt electric vehicle.

The Volt will launch later this year, priced somewhere north of $40,000 before a $7,500 federal tax credit.  Initial launch markets will include Michigan, California and Washington, D.C., Austin, Texas, and New York City (New Jersey, Connecticut and the rest of Texas will received Volts in early 2011).  

GM's Volt Battery packs have seen vigorous testing, including 1 million miles total miles of road tests and 4 million hours of validation testing.  They have also been subjected to an array of tests including corrosion, impact, water submersion, short circuit, crush and penetration, dust and extreme temperature changes.  Aggressive drive cycles, also known as "Shake, Bake, and Roll", were also tested.  The battery can reportedly withstand temperatures as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

Vice Chairman of Global Product Operations Tom Stephens says that the warranty -- three years longer than the standard GM powertrain warranty -- is a sign of the company's satisfaction with its finished product.  He states, "This is really a major statement of our confidence."

The warranty covers all 161 battery components, 95 percent of which are designed and engineered by GM, plus the vehicle's thermal management system, its electric drive system, and its charging system.  The

The 100k warranty is similar to the 100k mile warranty offered with the Toyota Prius.  Much like the Prius, whose warranty is bumped to 150k in California to meet California's Air Resources Board's standards, the Volt may receive an even longer warranty in California and other states that have adopted its standards.  California Air Resources Board has not yet specified what warranty GM would need to score partial zero-emission vehicle credits.

Other competitors also offer similar warranties -- the Honda Insight comes with a 100k, eight-year warranty (10-year, 150k in California) and the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner hybrids come with an eight-year 100k warranty, as well.  However, the battery packs used in those hybrids are nowhere near as large as the one used in the Volt. Nissan so far has announced no warranty yet on its 2011 Nissan Leaf EV vehicle.

The Volt gets 40 miles on a fully charged battery under ideal conditions.  However, this can dip lower in hot or cold weather.  The gas engine should provide a steady 300 mile range, under almost any weather condition, when the tank is full.  GM initially plans to produce 10,000 Volts in 2010, bumping production to as many as 30,000 in 2011.

GM has scored $241 million in federal grants, including $106 million for its new battery pack assembly factory, to help with the cost of developing its electric vehicles.



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Temperature Range
By Zerovoltage on 7/15/2010 9:48:59 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
The battery can reportedly withstand temperatures as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 122 degrees Fahrenheit.


It was -34 degrees Fahrenheit near Chicago two years ago. I remember because I drove by a bank temperature display and wanted to find a corner to curl up in and die.

I don't see how they can market this in the Midwest if the batteries only work to -13.




RE: Temperature Range
By wuZheng on 7/15/2010 9:54:59 AM , Rating: 2
Probably have some kind of temperature control system to make sure the battery doesn't reach EITHER of those extremes. You know, proper engineering... thats key. Although, seeing as its GM... we'll see how this goes... Don't be an early adopter.


RE: Temperature Range
By DanNeely on 7/15/2010 9:55:25 AM , Rating: 2
Instead of just selling you a block heater they also sell you a battery pack heater.


RE: Temperature Range
By Gungel on 7/15/2010 9:58:30 AM , Rating: 3
That's why they have a heater installed that keeps the battery temperature at a workable level. It is only possible because the combustion engine can keep the heater running. This is a problem for an all-electric car like the Nissan Leaf.


RE: Temperature Range
By mmntech on 7/15/2010 10:14:50 AM , Rating: 1
Just thinking out loud here but they could cycle coolant from the engine block to keep the batteries warm. Assuming this is what they did, I don't see cold batteries being an issue.


RE: Temperature Range
By RealTheXev on 7/15/2010 11:19:11 PM , Rating: 2
This isn’t really about the operating time of the vehicle; it’s about the parked time. I don’t see why reliable block heating technology, like that used in diesel engines for years, couldn’t be applied to battery packs.


RE: Temperature Range
By Dr of crap on 7/15/2010 10:00:09 AM , Rating: 4
Yep this car won't make it here in St Paul. We alway go under -13 in the winter - keeps the lazys from moving here!


RE: Temperature Range
By bobcpg on 7/15/2010 10:30:55 AM , Rating: 2
I as just thinking the same thing. We easily get below -13 at least one day here in Minnesoooota.


RE: Temperature Range
By Wy White Wolf on 7/15/2010 4:38:25 PM , Rating: 2
I do...

What about when the car is parked and you can't plug it in? Like at work or the store.


RE: Temperature Range
By stimudent on 7/15/2010 11:14:55 AM , Rating: 2
Up in norther Alaska and Canada, the temps will get down to -40F and -60F on a regular basis during the winter.
A car with a battery like that would be good enough for central and western New York state. We might get into the single digits F on occasion while going into the negative temps is infrequent.


RE: Temperature Range
By HakonPCA on 7/15/2010 11:20:21 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
and as high as 122 degrees Fahrenheit


In Phoenix its going to be 115 today, and tomorrow, and the next day, which means my car will be about 130+.

Volt not for use in Phoenix? in the summer, in the city?


RE: Temperature Range
By Redwin on 7/15/2010 1:57:12 PM , Rating: 5
Pretty sure driving with outside temps outside of operating range just make the car expend extra power to cool or warm the batteries. That will definitely reduce your all-electric range, but will not result in the car breaking; just the gas motor kicking in sooner.

I think that's why a while back we heard about GM saying it will have reduced range in very hot or very cold climates... More of the driving energy has to be diverted to battery temp control. It'll still work but it might not be as fuel efficient as you might have hoped reading the marketing literature.


"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer














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