Dec 14

A123’s Chevy Volt Battery Pack Won’t be Home for Christmas (or for New Year’s for that matter)

 

battery1-copy.jpg

There were initial reports after GM received the first CPI/LG Chem Chevy Volt battery pack that they would be receiving the first from A123/Continental in December.

The other day, GM spokesperson Rob Peterson was quoted as saying the pack would not arrive until 2008.

I was able to verify that fact with Mr. Peterson. His official statement to me:

There’s no concerns on our part. A123/Conti pack is expected to be delivered in early 2008.

It is interesting that the LG Chem/CPI camp has a very large battery maker paired with a small pack company, whereas the A123/Continental camp has a small battery-maker (relative) paired with a large component manufacturer.

Does this mean the A123 pack is delayed, or was the pack never intended for December? Your guess is as good as mine.

This entry was posted on Friday, December 14th, 2007 at 8:05 am and is filed under Battery, Engineering. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 17


  1. 1
    Rob

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    Dec 14th, 2007 (8:27 am)

    Sucks but no big deal really.

    Get this though. My neighbor is an employee from the Tech Center in Warren (we live directly across the street in the new development for those who know the area). He’s a manager of some sort. Noticed the other night that he is driving one of the new hybrid VUE’s back and forth to work. When I asked him what kind it is he said it’s one of the BAS systems and not the two mode. Still kinda cool.

    Either way, Lyle, is there anyway you could ask what the hell is going on with the plugin VUE program? I would ask my neighbor but I don’t wanna harass the guy too much.


  2. 2
    David

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    Dec 14th, 2007 (10:13 am)

    There’s still time to head to the mall, sit on Santa’s lap, and ask him nicely for the batteries. Isn’t there?


  3. 3
    Jim I

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    Dec 14th, 2007 (10:14 am)

    Lyle, Nice touch with the Christmas Bow, but I guess you should have used a St. Patrick’s day decoration instead!

    Lets just hope it does not end up being a 4th of July fireworks present……….

    🙂


  4. 4
    Brian M

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    Dec 14th, 2007 (10:57 am)

    This is the reason to rely on several battery companies (as GM is) rather than just one (like Toyota).


  5. 5
    kent beuchert

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    Dec 14th, 2007 (11:04 am)

    I don’t think this has anything to do with the batteries, per se, since A123 Systems spokemen said long ago that they were basically done and that what remained was cooling system enginering from Continental to create a commercial pack.
    I therefore believe its a Continental story, not an A123 System story.


  6. 6
    wow

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    Dec 14th, 2007 (11:30 am)

    Just because the A123 batteries are “done” doesn’t mean they are where they want them to be. You can’t infer whether this is A123 vs. Continental issue.

    As far as Toyota, nobody really knows what exactly they are doing in their labs so you can’t say they are relying on one battery company. That might be just what they WANT you to believe >>>insert evel laughter here


  7. 7
    noel park

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    Dec 14th, 2007 (11:38 am)

    Is it just me, or did the wait list meter take another nice bump up over night?

    My wife keeps driving her 95 Impala SS. We have responded to higher gas prices by moving closer to her work, and driving the car a lot less.

    For numerous reasons, we only buy Chevrolets. There is nothing in the current lineup that motivates her to get out of her Impala.

    Somebody suggested making this statement the other day, so here it is. We are not buying another car until the Volt is available. We hve the money in the bank and will write the check the first day it is possible. Get with it GM. A123 – “Lead, follow, or get out of the way”.


  8. 8
    AES

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    Dec 14th, 2007 (12:11 pm)

    When A123 said the cells were basically done, the development contract was in its early stages. It’s possible GM subsequently decided that the cylindrical, automotive-grade cells that A123 makes (32157) weren’t space efficient enough. THEN GM and A123 had to co-develop the new prismatic cell that was only recenty unveiled at EVS.

    CPI, on the other hand, already had prismatic cells done.

    So I think the delay is because A123 had to do a cell redesign before sending the cells to Germany. The ball should be in Continental’s court right now.


  9. 9
    Jeffrey

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    Dec 14th, 2007 (1:13 pm)

    @ Rob #1 – I’ve been trying to get the same info, but it seems that nobody wants to talk about that – it seems to me that since they announced that A123 is making the batteries for the plug-in VUE, it could tie in to the testing process, but Google seems to have nothing but auto show announcements on the matter!

    I know this is the VOLT site, but anything on the VOLT would be nice, too! For example, if the VUE makes it out on time as promised, that would go a LONG way toward shutting up the EV1 naysayers!


  10. 10
    Vernon-Ga-Tech

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    Dec 14th, 2007 (3:17 pm)

    Since I was the one who said I thought A123 had delivered their battery to GM. I went back to the EVS23 video from Jon Laukner (see link below) to listen to what he had said. Listening more closely to what he said, it was LG who just delievered (Dec.2)their second battery pack for testing. I am sorry for the confusion.

    http://www.autobloggreen.com/2007/12/08/video-gms-jon-laukner-shows-off-the-first-volt-battery-pack-at/

    With all said, it is obvious the A123/Continential are behind with LG delievering their second pack. Lets just hope it meets GM’s requirements when they finally do deliver.


  11. 11
    hevfuture

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    Dec 14th, 2007 (5:16 pm)

    Hi Lyle,

    Has anyone found numbers regarding the cycle life (lifespan, % capacity after cycling) or capacity of the LG Chemical cells? It seems that the best data that anyone can quote is back from 2003, as shown in the following link that you once posted:

    http://futuredrive.wordpress.com/2007/10/20/survey-of-usabc-contractor-lithium-ion-technology/

    If you are having an interview with CPI/LG-Chem at any point, it would be amazing to get more information on their current cycle life and capacity so that we can compare their cells more effectively to the A123 cells, for which there is plenty of published and current data.

    Thanks!!


  12. 12
    Drake

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    Dec 14th, 2007 (6:09 pm)

    haha, love the graphic Lyle.

    Maybe A123 isn’t the company we thought they were. I wonder how their batteries will hold up in GM’s test lab.


  13. 13
    AES

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    Dec 14th, 2007 (10:21 pm)

    According to this MIT article, it seems A123 was beginning work on the redesigned flat cell back in AUGUST:

    http://www.technologyreview.com/Energy/19226/

    So they probably only just now sent the pack to Continental.

    Whereas CPI probably had ≥10Ah cells available for pack construction the moment they got the contract.


  14. 14
    Van

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    Dec 15th, 2007 (11:12 am)

    Early 2008 could be as late as June 30, 2008. So the mules that are in the works would not have the A123 battery packs because they would still need the 4 month lab test period. Now if “early 2008” meant the first quarter, before the end of March, then A123 might still be in the game. But it looks bad to me.

    We do know the cells have been shipped to Conti, and we do not know the reason for the delay.


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