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New battery pack was designed in-house and uses LG Chem cells

General Motors is looking to quickly advance its efforts in battery development and production for its electric vehicles. The company is capitalizing on those efforts this week with the announcement that the 2015 Chevrolet Spark EV will receive a lighter lithium-ion battery pack.
The current Spark EV makes use of a 21-kWh battery pack that was developed by A123 Systems. This time around, however, General Motors designed the battery pack in-house using 192 lithium-ion cells provided by LG Chem. Weighing in at 474 pounds, the new battery pack is 86 pounds lighter than before.

Despite the slight downgrade in storage capacity from 21-kWh to 19-kWh, General Motors says that the Spark EV’s EPA-rated range and MPGe remain steady at 82 miles and 119 MPGe respectively.

Spark EV battery line at the General Motors Brownstown Battery Assembly Plant
The Spark EV is priced at $27,495 before a $7,500 federal tax credit. Depending on where you live in the United States, that figure could drop even further thanks to state credits and rebates. For example, residents in California could qualify for a $2,500 state rebate on the purchase of a Spark EV. That would bring the overall cost of the vehicle down to $17,495 compared to $12,170 for the base, gasoline-engine version of the Spark.

Source: General Motors

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Does not compute...
By SublimeSimplicity on 5/15/2014 9:40:26 AM , Rating: 0
How can you lower battery capacity, preserve range, and keep the same MPGe? The first 2 are used to calculate the 3rd.

RE: Does not compute...
By cokbun on 5/15/2014 9:42:49 AM , Rating: 4
by lowering the weight

RE: Does not compute...
By spamreader1 on 5/15/2014 9:52:58 AM , Rating: 2
Each cell weighs less too. So they reduced weight in 2 ways, reduced the weight of each cell, AND reduced the number of cells.

RE: Does not compute...
By SublimeSimplicity on 5/15/2014 10:02:03 AM , Rating: 2
That's may point though. That should have effected the MPGe as lowering the weight would have improved the car's efficiency.

RE: Does not compute...
By Iridium130m on 5/15/2014 11:28:19 AM , Rating: 3
They may be discharging the batteries deeper than the original packs...that'd be the only way they'd get the same range and keep the efficiency the same...e.g. still using the same amount of KWh, just leaving less in reserve because the LG batteries may be able to handle deeper discharges.

RE: Does not compute...
By Samus on 5/15/2014 11:39:00 AM , Rating: 2
They probably aren't affecting the cell chemistry. Weight savings could come from the pack design, reinforcement (maybe that shifted from steel spaces to Kevlar\Nomex spacers?) and the containment structure.

But at the same time, if they reduce the curb weight, they can slightly reduce the pack amp capacity and still maintain the same range (at least in city driving.)

RE: Does not compute...
By Mint on 5/15/2014 4:52:40 PM , Rating: 1
86lbs is not going to let you use 10% less charge to go the same distance, and even if it did, MPGe would change.

The only possibility for a smaller pack having the same range and MPGe is that GM feels more comfortable using a fuller depth of discharge with the LG cells than the old ones.

Either that, or they made efficiency improvements but didn't bother updating MPGe, which I find unlikely.

RE: Does not compute...
By GreenEnvt on 5/15/2014 9:44:48 AM , Rating: 2
Well weight dropped slightly which would help a bit, any maybe GM found some other efficiencies they could improve in the electric motor or just the battery packs characteristics itself.
Also might be able to use slightly more of the charge range in this new battery pack (the batteries aren't generally 100% charged or drained to prevent damage).

RE: Does not compute...
By kattanna on 5/15/2014 10:37:29 AM , Rating: 2
Also might be able to use slightly more of the charge range

that would be my guess as well

RE: Does not compute...
By ilt24 on 5/15/2014 9:53:18 AM , Rating: 2
Other than the 3% reduction in weight from the new battery, there are probably some other tweaks to the car they allowed them to get range.

RE: Does not compute...
By Brandon Hill on 5/15/2014 10:36:46 AM , Rating: 2
It'll be interesting to see what they are able to achieve with the next generation Volt with regards to battery capacity/efficiency.

RE: Does not compute...
By Reflex on 5/15/2014 12:40:23 PM , Rating: 2
The next gen Volt is what has kept me from simply buying an EV now. The rumors say its only going to be a slight improvement with slightly better range on battery. If that's so I'll pass and get a full EV (maybe the Mercedes). But if they pop it up to an 80 mile range and have the generator and still keep it under $40k before rebates, I'm sold.

One thing I do not understand is why battery capacity is not an upgradable option. Most cars give us various engine sizes, why not give us larger battery options? Tesla does it, I'd love the option to buy out my range anxiety. That Toyota Rav4e has fantastic range (125+ miles in testing) but you can't find it anywhere but Cali. I'd love to get a commuter car with range around 100 miles...

RE: Does not compute...
By Mint on 5/15/2014 5:02:37 PM , Rating: 3
No way in hell will the next Volt have 80 miles range. 50 if we're lucky.

The priority for the Volt needs to be cost reduction, performance, and looks (basically the fundamental pillars of any car). There are a lot of PHEV competitors coming with far less range, so it's the other metrics that GM needs to win on.

RE: Does not compute...
By flyingpants1 on 5/15/2014 9:04:35 PM , Rating: 3
There is no point in simply bumping the specs on a crappy, ugly car that nobody will buy anyway.

A larger battery would be nice but not necessary. If you charge at work, the Volt already offers 80 electric-only miles every single day. That means there's also no real need for a more efficient engine. The Volt already gets 37mpg and 90% of your driving will already be electric anyway.

What they really need is to make it look better, and add a fifth seat. There's no reason the Volt couldn't have looked like a smarter Chevrolet Cruze, instead of one with Down syndrome.

If they get the MSRP under $30k, with the federal rebate alone, that's only $22.5k. For a car that can do 15,000+ pure electric miles per year, while still carrying a gas backup.

RE: Does not compute...
By danwat12345 on 5/23/2014 3:54:07 AM , Rating: 2
The Volt isn't ugly IMO. My eyes nearly bulge out of their sockets whenever I see one! Red or blue is the best colored Volts. I wish the belt line wasn't quite as high though.

RE: Does not compute...
By chµck on 5/15/2014 11:24:26 AM , Rating: 2
How did you get the 3% number? The battery went from 560lbs to 474, about 15%.

RE: Does not compute...
By BurnItDwn on 5/15/2014 12:40:19 PM , Rating: 2
Well, there's about 2000 pounds of car around that battery...

Thus, the car's about 3% lighter ...

RE: Does not compute...
By Jedi2155 on 5/15/2014 2:46:17 PM , Rating: 3
It really does not compute. If you decrease the weight, you increase the vehicle efficiency thus MPGe should be affected. If you increase the depth of discharge (use more of the battery), then the kWh rating should rise. They should stop reporting actual capacities, and start reporting USABLE capacities of batteries.

RE: Does not compute...
By RDO CA on 5/15/2014 3:55:09 PM , Rating: 2
Or even better, both total and usable.

RE: Does not compute...
By Mint on 5/15/2014 5:04:44 PM , Rating: 2
They should stop reporting actual capacities, and start reporting USABLE capacities of batteries.
Well there's your answer. They don't do that, and I doubt they ever will.

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