Jul 22

GM/ABB Group parternship developing uses for post-consumer Volt batteries

 

Old Volts don’t die, they just morph into grid storage.

OK, admittedly that does not sound as fanciful as riding off into the sunset or some such, but it is one possibility General Motors and ABB Group have been working on to profitably re-purpose used Volt batteries.

Since last year, GM and the Raleigh, N.C. based group have contemplated how to squeak the best use out of batteries expected to have 70 percent of energy storage capacity remaining.


Its first life is in the Chevrolet Volt. Its second could be as grid storage.

Last September the partnership between the two companies was commented on by Micky Bly, GM Executive Director of Electrical Systems, Hybrids, Electric Vehicles and Batteries.

“The Volt’s battery will have significant capacity to store electrical energy, even after its automotive life,” Bly said back then. “That’s why we’re joining forces with ABB to find ways to enable the Volt batteries to provide environmental benefits that stretch far beyond the highway.”

On Tuesday this week, the partners showed they have made headway by demonstrating an energy storage system combining EV battery technology and a proven grid-tied electric power inverter.

“Partnerships with organizations such as ABB provide real-world applications that prove what we’re doing is real, not fiction,” Bly said.

At this point, GM is predicting that 33 post-consumer Chevrolet Volt batteries will have enough capacity to power 50 homes for four hours.

Or, scaling that down to workable size, the ABB and GM team is building a prototype energy storage system for 25-kilowatt/50-kWh applications, about the same power consumption of five U.S. homes or small retail and industrial facilities.

ABB has determined its existing power quality filter (PQF) inverter can be used to charge and discharge the Volt battery pack to take full advantage of the system and enable utilities to reduce the cost of peak load conditions.

The system can also reduce utilities’ needs for power control, protection and additional monitoring equipment. The team will soon test the system for back-up power applications.

“Our tests so far have shown the viability of the GM-ABB solution in the laboratory and they have provided valuable experience to overcome the technical challenges,” said Pablo Rosenfeld, ABB’s program manager for Distributed Energy Storage Medium Voltage Power Products. “We are making plans now for the next major step – testing a larger prototype on an actual electric distribution system.”


A Volt battery in the lab.

GM said it has appointed Pablo Valencia to the new position of senior manager for Battery Lifecycle Management. Valencia and his team will focus on assuring battery systems used in future Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles provide environmental and societal benefits beyond their use in the vehicle.

GM said single-source responsibility assures the design of future battery systems is compatible with reuse and recycling applications.

Many questions remain

While it has shown some progress, GM has said it is still in the very early stages, and does not have answers for what would happen in the case of wrecked Volts that leave the road early.

Also unanswered were a few questions we lobbed over to GM’s Kevin M. Kelly, Manager, Electric Vehicle and Hybrid Communications, about costs and practicality involved in extracting Volt batteries and integrating them as components of local grid storage systems.

“We’re still in the working stages of a ton of this stuff and a lot of it is unknown at this time since we have an 8-year / 100,000-mile warranty on our battery system,” Kelly said. “ We are working on building business cases on many outstanding issues. Stay tuned.”

UPDATE:

Kevin Kelly got back to me again today (Friday) explaining he was short on time to answer more the other day, but offered what info he could. I asked more questions than these, but these were what he had answers for …

GM-Volt: Is this the most likely scenario GM is contemplating for post-consumer e-vehicle battery usage?

“We are focused right now on finding ways to reuse the batteries to maximize their benefit beyond the vehicle,” Kelly said. “We’re also researching and studying the potential for recycling of the materials after the batteries have exhausted all potential use applications beyond the vehicle.”

GM-Volt: Are other scenarios being seriously considered?

“We have said that we would look to studying ways we could use the battery system cells for other applications beyond the vehicle like industrial equipment,” Kelly said. “It all depends on whether there is market demand and how the potential business cases evolve in the future.

GM-Volt: How many regulatory or other hurdles would need to be overcome to create a viable business models for the grid storage idea?

“We need to work with utilities and regulatory agencies to determine how this would pan out and it’s too early to know specifics at this time,” Kelly said.

GM-Volt: (Also, where would a 25- or 50-kWh unit be sited? If it is only good for five houses, would you put these in neighborhoods, or cluster them somewhere? Who would pay for these? Would it be the local utility? Are utilities on-board with this as a solution?)

“The prototype units we talked about (25 and 50 kWh) could be used for residential, small industrial sites or retail malls, for example. We have not determined how they would be marketed at this time,” Kelly said. “We have been working with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)to assure the prototype we are working on will meet the potential needs of utility customers.”

GM-Volt: I have no idea how tough it would be to extract a Volt battery and install and wire it in to some for of box or the like. I have no idea the recycling value as compared to this elaborate scenario. Which is simpler and most cost-effective?

“Again, we would want to assure we’re using the storage capability of the battery to its fullest before we consider recycling,” Kelly said. “We want to make sure we can provide societal benefits beyond the vehicle.”

This entry was posted on Friday, July 22nd, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 52


  1. 1
    Darius

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (6:33 am)

    I still wonder why battery pack could not be refurbished by replacing old lithium cells with new one’s with better chemistry. I could not recall exactly, but as far as I remember the cell cost constitutes around 30% of the battery pack cost (somebody correct if I am wrong). Similar procedure for some heavy applications performed for led batteries. This could be so that after battery refurbishment it can be used even for new automobile.

    Secondly, why this could be done with existing Chevy Volt? Smart Grid application suppose bidirectional power flows to the Chevy Volt: when grid conditions are most favorable at customer conveniences and back to the grid in case of emergency. Of course this Smart Grid option should be payed by grid company covering cost of battery life reduction.


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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (6:35 am)

    From today’s article: “On Tuesday this week, the partners demonstrated they have made headway by demonstrating an energy storage system combining EV battery technology and a proven grid-tied electric power inverter.”

    Another very timely article, Jeff! And I find the GM/ABB partnership highly credible —ABB has incredible technical & management resources to bring to the task. My personal background in both large/long-life battery development and in high-reliability inverter design convince me they’re likelihood of technical success in this undertaking is good. Let’s hope they can “sell” it to the electric power industry and/or to individual users like suggested in post #3 below.

    /Of course, lithium recovery/recycling is another used battery re-usage option —one that has a long-established, very successful business model in large-scale lead-acid car battery recycling


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    emod79

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (6:51 am)

    My guess is in about 5 years someone or some company will have made a DIY installation kit to hook these batteries up to your breaker box in your house just like they have now for gas/diesel generators. Now if I was an electrical engineer I’d be all over that, since I’m not, someone else wanna take this idea and run with it? Nasaman….?


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    Darius

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (6:53 am)

    I was wrong. Active material (lithium) constitutes no more than 20% of battery pack cost.

    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2011/03/perspective-not-all-reductions-in-battery-costs-are-found-underneath-the-microscope-.html


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    Engineer

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (7:02 am)

    Is this the ABB group whom develops those lovely orange robots? Or is it something completely different?


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    AnABBGuy

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (7:57 am)

    Engineer,

    Yes, those orange robots are from ABB.

    Here’s a link to the GM press release:
    http://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/gm/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/cn/en/2011/Jul/0722


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    Dave K.

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (8:58 am)

    We had an engineering update here about 2 years ago. Wherein it was mentioned that cell by cell replacement is possible. I expect there will be a battery recycling group collecting 10+ year old Volt batteries. Pulling the “bad” cells. And producing 10 very functional T batteries for each 12 collected.
    Keep in mind. Battery technology will be far more advanced in 10 years. May be possible to simply take the “used” lithium material grind and recycle into base material.

    =D-Volt


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    gwmort

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (9:35 am)

    I really like this idea and thinks its great they are looking at useful ways to use the old batteries…

    but does this mean GM intends to buy the batteries back from existing owners when they need to be replaced? I can see them keeping the originals if replaced under warranty, but if I’m paying for a new one, I’m keeping the one I already bought with the car.

    I agree with emod79 and that by the time this needs to be done to mine there will be kits for making practical use of it at home, so I intend to keep it.

    If 33 old batteries can power 50 homes (from article), I assume the 5 home unit would be 3-4 old batteries (1/10th), so a 1 home unit should be okay with a single old battery.


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    Nelson

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (9:45 am)

    “We’re still in the working stages of a ton of this stuff and a lot of it is unknown at this time since we have an 8-year / 100,000-mile warranty on our battery system,” Kelly said. “ We are working on building business cases on many outstanding issues. Stay tuned.”

    Correction! 2011 is half gone. You now have 7 years to work on building business cases for end-of-life Volt batteries. No pressure, but remember time stops for no one.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


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    KUD

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (10:26 am)

    Are those used packs going to be available to Consumers. It would be nice to have a 50KW pack sitting in my basement soaking up the excess power of my Solar Panels. I did not go Battery back up because I really didn’t want Deep Cycle Batteries in my Basement.


  11. 11
    Jeff Cobb

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (10:59 am)

    nasaman,

    Thanks nasaman. It looks like the technical side is definitely do-able. Creating a compelling business model looks like another task at hand. I am sure it is likely that it could be done. They just have no information they were willing to share this week when I asked Kevin Kelly.

    He is the one who is trying to set up the Pam Fletcher interview, by the way. Still working on getting a date certain for that as well.


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    Shawn Marshall

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (11:14 am)

    Use of batteries for “grid” storage is inherently inefficient. If batteries improve enough in cost and energy density, the market will dictate their direct use in homes AND on d.c. systems.


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    CorvetteGuy

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (11:17 am)

    If “back-up battery systems” on this kind of scale is needed, and profitable… why wait until the battery pack from a Volt is at the end of its useful automobile life? Why not just sell NEW battery packs to these up-and-coming industries?

    Just because you make ketchup doesn’t mean it can only be used on hot dogs!


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    pjkPA

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (12:26 pm)

    This is good stuff.. another good article Jeff.

    I’m sure these expensive batteries will be utilized after they power cars for many years.

    These are very good things never seen in our major media… they are too involved with “reporting” on things like multi millionaire ball players….

    Good job Jeff.


  15. 15
    Jeff Cobb

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (1:20 pm)

    pjkPA,

    Thanks pjkPA. You know I often have a similar reaction. I have the Alexa tool bar which shows what are the top stories trending – it shows what is most fascinating to the everyday person and what is being read by thousands or millions of people.

    Like you, I really don’t care so much about Kate Middleton’s dress or that Paris Hilton walked out on a TV interview the other day, or that Kim Kardishian’s ex boyfriend is now dating the lookalike woman Old Navy used to capitalize on her look, and now Kim is suing Old Navy …

    If other people do, I guess that’s good for them. It also shows where there “head is at,” as the saying goes.

    If a thousand times more Americans are aware of those stories than they are of finding energy solutions and reducing dependence on oil, etc., what does it mean?

    As a journalist, I can tell you popular stories about over-paid ball players and starlets etc. are what info consumers want, not merely the “fault” (if you will) of the media.

    There is always an interplay between what is published, and what is read – always at least two sides, if not multiple sides to what makes for popular stories.

    So, if you or I don’t like a story, is it the media’s “fault?” Or is it the “fault” of those who read and want this? The media would not publish what you consider useless stories if many other people did not also want to read them.

    And the public is always free to seek enlightenment, learn, self-educate, and find sites talking about news you find as valuable and run up the ratings for those sites.

    What is published can just as well be called an indicator of the general mindset of people in the main. As capitalists, publishers put out what people want to spend their time with.

    If you think it is a waste of space, who do you blame? The media, or society for having such a mindset as wanting to spend its time on what you consider useless?

    The answer is BOTH are responsible, and both society and media have a part to play.

    Same goes for music, movies, books and magazines, by the way. It’s an old story, really, but one we can forget to stay mindful of in looking at the big picture.

    Also, I know you are concerned about free trade. When I write a story, I cannot put in a pitch about the free trade angle every single time.

    I leave that for you and other readers to opine, but this is more of a neutral platform posting info that could be spun a number of different ways.

    I do what I can with time, space and information available considering I have a daily deadline.

    Thanks for reading.


  16. 16
    statik

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (1:32 pm)

    Recycling/reclaiming materials is the only reasonable/fiscally viable application for out of warranty Volt batteries.

    Mr. ‘Joe Handy’ might be able to rig up some use (if he stumbles across a pack and values his time at nothing) …but there is no other business model, at least that I can see at the moment.


  17. 17
    kdawg

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (1:43 pm)

    What about the battery electrolyte flushing & replenishing patent?


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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (1:45 pm)

    Engineer: Is this the ABB group whom develops those lovely orange robots? Or is it something completely different?

    ABB does a lot more than robots too. I use a lot of their controls components.

    (general robot rule: orange = ABB, yellow = Fanuc)


  19. 19
    statik

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (2:09 pm)

    kdawg: What about the battery electrolyte flushing & replenishing patent?

    Well, that is certainly an idyllic type of scenario, but I doubt it. Not that it couldn’t be done, but like everything else (cough) hydrogen cars (cough), is it viable? Cost?

    The first problem in the Volt would be the cost of getting the integrated pack (not the best design for ease of use) out of the car, and then reconfigured it into a usable form…I imagine a 5 foot, 450lb, T-shaped, 16 kWh monster battery is not going to be terribly optimal for misc. use a decade or so from now, (=

    Secondly, the Volt has 288 odd individual cells that are welded and sealed, you would have to somehow break each of them open, then do the refurb (which I think involves an extended solvent bath on a specialized manifold), and then somehow re-seal those 288 cells….and then re-calibrate the output of the pack.

    If the technology was completed/verified, and the Volt packs were optimally engineered to go through this process, I would say maybe this would be an option somewhere down the road…but not as the car/pack is currently configured.


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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (2:24 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: If “back-up battery systems” on this kind of scale is needed, and profitable… why wait until the battery pack from a Volt is at the end of its useful automobile life? Why not just sell NEW battery packs to these up-and-coming industries?

    Just because you make ketchup doesn’t mean it can only be used on hot dogs!

    This isn’t ketchup. It’s more like tomato vinegar :)


  21. 21
    jeffhre

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (2:29 pm)

    Shawn Marshall: Use of batteries for “grid” storage is inherently inefficient. If batteries improve enough in cost and energy density, the market will dictate their direct use in homes AND on d.c. systems.

    Yes that’s why permits are being applied for grid interconnection, and battery back up, not so much. These batteries have a shelf life and are considered depleted at 70% rated power. Though at 70% it’s still a robust high voltage storage, and will live on in some use or other before being recycled.


  22. 22
    James

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (2:44 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: pjkPA,Thanks pjkPA. You know I often have a similar reaction. I have the Alexa tool bar which shows what are the top stories trending – it .If a thousand times more Americans are aware of those stories than they are of finding energy solutions and reducing dependence on oil, etc., what does it mean?As a journalist, I can tell you popular stories about over-paid ball players and starlets etc. are what info consumers want, not merely the “fault” (if you will) of the media.There is always an interplay between what is published, and what is read – always at least two sides, if not multiple sides to what makes for popular stories.So, if you or I don’t like a story, is it the media’s “fault?” Or is it the “fault” of those who read and want this? The media would not publish what you consider useless stories if many other people did not also want to read them.And the public is always free to seek enlightenment, learn, self-educate, and find sites talking about news you find as valuable and run up the ratings for those sites.What is published can just as well be called an indicator of the general mindset of people in the main. As capitalists, publishers put out what people want to spend their time with.If you think it is a waste of space, who do you blame? The media, or society for having such a mindset as wanting to spend its time on what you consider useless?The answer is BOTH are responsible, and both society and media have a part to play. P>Thanks for reading.

    I don’t watch the evening local news anymore. It’s sad because you miss out on local highway closings and special events, etc… But those stories are buried deep inside a broadcast that leads with who was shot that day, who used guns and what accident or weather hype caused harm, death and/or destruction. Watch it everyday and just get a bad attitude about life in general.

    Just like Jeff says – who’se at fault? Media outlets are not companies who decided they wanted to make a business out of informing the public about what was important. “Journalists” who work for these companies must understand that they are merely working for a company who sells advertising spots on a broadcast or print medium to whom they own space. Why we all call it “the news” is a mystery to me.

    We can’t blame anyone. What they broadcast and print is what sells. Blame mankind if you must — That a large majority of people want to talk about that big train wreck in China or how horrible things are because of the weather is just human nature. We know every single day people are doing good things, but we have to look elsewhere to find out who and what those things are. Smart people do that – they hunt for the information that is positive or informational – not sensational or partisan.

    Sensationalism sells – and that is what those companies are in the business to do. Sell. Media studies always prove that formula works. A politician who called a prostitute is big stuff to the gossip hungry. If violence sells – they air it. It’s something we need to teach our children so they can be realistic about what theys see on TV , in print and on the web.

    I’m glad I’m not in entertainment per se, such as TV, movies or the music industry. If so, I’d be tempted to “re-invent” myself regularly as the top stars do – and have a fake alcoholic blow up, or YouTube tantrum now and then. These things make “news” and promoters and agents say any news is good – negative or not. I am an online aquaintence of a pop star who had a tiny bit of fame and a CD come out, but she faded fast and only got headlines by her celeb boyfriend or the time she just happened to have topless pics of her leaked out over the net. Of course she denied having anything to do with them and said an old boyfriend posted them. Bah! It’s all giving the people what they want.

    I believe true journalism succeeds upon it’s own merits, Jeff. Break meaningful stories and do the hard work and you will get noticed. You will get your day. Stories like today’s may not get picked up by CNN, but they do get noticed – by smart people.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (3:00 pm)

    To me a good journalist is one who stays honest and informs the public of important things and gives important, much-needed information, including a wider view, industry trends and new developments.

    To media corporations – most times a good journalist is one who increases ratings no matter how. High ratings mean higher advertising income. It’s all about money. Not too much different than high school – be real or be popular, you make the choice.

    Jeff, I hope you choose A over B. GM-Volt was a website started to A) Make money and prove he could succeed at a website. B) Inform and educate re: The Chevy Volt and it’s progress towards reality – Lyle Dennis said as much and I have the web links to prove he said this…There’s nothing wrong with that at all – Lyle found an interest that others shared in GM’s EV project and because of Lyle’s crack reporting ( want list ) and connection-making, I believe he was a large part of the Volt coming to fruition. In that sense, Lyle was very successful in this niche and met his goals while retaining integrity.

    This website has become a Volt user forum and GM fansite. This is OK, I suppose, but the reason I’m not here daily as in the past and mostly read the forums. Say something against GM or it’s plans, for instance, and get negs. The stories are all to often “GM rah rah” which , of course, is what many regulars here want. To me, this site needs to retain some objectivity and focus on what Lyle started, while showing what Volt’s competitors have up their sleeves as well. The site used to be more PRO EV and less PRO GM. It’s what seperated it from PriusChat and other pure fansites, IMO.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


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    Jeff Cobb

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (4:04 pm)

    James,

    James, you never have to worry about me. Neither my soul nor integrity are for sale. Someone could offer me $100 million, and I’d still say, “take a hike.”

    I notice you seem to like to write. You are always welcome to contact me and propose a story idea for GM-Volt. The offer is out there to write for this site, and you are welcome to submit your own stories, though I’d prefer it if you ran the idea past me in advance. Thanks for your comments.

    Regards,

    Jeff


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    an_outsider

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (4:14 pm)

    Reduce, Reuse/Rethink, Recycle makes lot of sense here (whatever you call it 3R / 4R).

    Reduce. At the conception stage: GM designs what they consider the optimal battery cost/capacity pack for their Volt.

    Once the battery pack reach the end of its useable life in a Volt, the entire pack return process should be taken care by the GM network to retrieve the entire packs, allowing them to compile a zillion of data/stats and most important, to keep the quality control before over these packs start their 2nd life on any secondary market.

    Imho: a fair but valuable credit/cash (based on its condition) in exchange for customers who want to buy a new/improved pack to keep his/her Volt running, kind of copy cat program of the returnable laser printer cartridge recycling, would be a good option. Even car recyclers, insurance cies, etc could be eligible/interested if more valuable in opposition to dispose/sold by weight to battery recycling industry.(keep them in the loop for the 3rd cycle)

    Reuse/Rethink. There is a lot of potential avenues here: industrial stationary UPS back-up/generator combination, telecom industry UPS, individual/commercial energy storage from solar, wind, etc, name it.
    Option a) Keep existing casing for most of 2nd career or option b) reuse the good cells/monitoring system and re-package them for practical purposes.

    Recycle. At the end of the 2nd reuse/rethink cycle, the 3rd cycle takes place to recycle the maximum of raw material for industries and dispose the appropriate way what can’t be.


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    N Riley

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (4:14 pm)

    Jeff,

    Another interesting report. But it looks like there was no real need of Kevin Kelly getting back to you because his answers were pretty “canned” without giving out any real information. I guess we should not expect these people to really tell us anything useful. They are under pretty tight control by their bosses to not divulge any company “secrets”.

    Good try, though, Jeff. Keep up the good work.


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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (4:20 pm)

    James,

    I don’t think GM-VOLT.COM has gotten as bad as you seem to think. Yeah, we do like what GM is doing with the Volt, but that in itself does not necessarily make us “like” GM. Many of us on this site have never owned a GM vehicle (many us have, me included, but not for nearly 25 years). I see all sorts of comments bad-mouthing GM as well as praising them. It cuts both ways. Be that as it may, this site is a GM following site for the sole purpose of informing the public about what GM is doing in the way of the Volt and other EV/EREV vehicles. It helped to promote the idea of building the Volt when GM was uncertain to do so. Sure, it is a “fan” site. So what?


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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (4:25 pm)

    Statik,

    Nice to hear from you again. How is it going. Got your Volt on order yet? I haven’t ordered one yet. Just waiting for them to be sold locally. Nissan says I can order a Leaf next week. Haven’t decided if I want to take them up on it or get my $99 back. Not a big deal either way. But good to see your comments on the site.


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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (4:32 pm)

    N Riley,

    Thanks N. Riley. I know. I see it clearly. I have contacted them on this perception of being closed and secretive, and am waiting to hear back on what we can do.

    They know our readers have said they think the days of “transparency” have ended, and they really don’t want to turn people off. We are seeking middle ground where you won’t feel stonewalled, and I hope to have more to say on this soon.


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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (4:35 pm)

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (4:36 pm)

  32. 32
    Dave K.

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (4:44 pm)

    BOB LUTZ: A Few Of My Favorite Cars (YouTube Video)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNkRccyoP6w


  33. 33
    N Riley

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (4:52 pm)

    Look, all car dealers, not just GM’s, have ALWAYS used the bait and switch method when selling vehicles to the public. If you go into a dealership and you know what you want and stick to your decision, they are happy to sell you what you came in for. But, if the price is higher than you thought it would be or for some other reason you become indecisive, the salesperson is just a happy to show you a good alternative vehicle. They are in the business of selling vehicles, not making sure that the vehicle you came into the dealership to see is the vehicle you leave with. They want you to make a purchase.

    No big deal here, folks. You see the same methods used by many sales people selling all kinds of stuff. Salesmen want to make a sale because that is how they put bread and butter on the table.


  34. 34
    Noel Park

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (5:13 pm)

    Dave K.: We had an engineering update here about 2 years ago. Wherein it was mentioned that cell by cell replacement is possible. I expect there will be a battery recycling group collecting 10+ year old Volt batteries. Pulling the “bad” cells. And producing 10 very functional T batteries for each 12 collected.
    Keep in mind.

    #7

    I sure hope so. +1

    We use rebuilt electronic components all the time including all of the various microprocessors which control various functions of the cars. They have been superseded and discontinued at such a rapid rate over the last 20+ years that it’s the only way to keep the older cars going. If an aftermarket can spring up to re-manufacture such complex things, I’m cautiously optimistic that Volt batteries will be rebuilt eventually as well, especially as they are such high dollar items.


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    DonC

     

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (5:29 pm)

    kdawg — completely OT. You mentioned you were wondering when the Volt “late available” options would show up. Trevor from the Volt Advisory Group said the word is “towards November”. FYI.


  36. 36
    DonC

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (5:34 pm)

    Dave K.: BOB LUTZ: A Few Of My Favorite Cars (YouTube Video)

    Fun video! The guy has a good feel for cars.


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    Ray Iannuzzelli

     

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (5:46 pm)

    This is not only a good idea for Post-Volt batteries but there exists a market of power utility customers who use new Li-ion batteries for off-peak storage already. This is one of A123′s major businesses. I see no reason why these Post-Volt batteries could not be used in the same manner at a lower cost to the utility.


  38. 38
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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (7:19 pm)

    N Riley: James,I don’t think GM-VOLT.COM has gotten as bad as you seem to think. Yeah, we do like what GM is doing with the Volt, but that in itself does not necessarily make us “like” GM. Many of us on this site have never owned a GM vehicle (many us have, me included, but not for nearly 25 years). I see all sorts of comments bad-mouthing GM as well as praising them. It cuts both ways. Be that as it may, this site is a GM following site for the sole purpose of informing the public about what GM is doing in the way of the Volt and other EV/EREV vehicles. It helped to promote the idea of building the Volt when GM was uncertain to do so. Sure, it is a “fan” site. So what?

    From my perspective – I knock an ’80s GM product or point out something GM Marketing is doing – or any sort of comment THAT MAYBE PERHAPS could be percieved as critical to GM IN ANY WAY…and I’ve been negged and negged and negged on gm-volt.com. This has always been so – but the articles since the buyout have been many in the “New Malibu”, “new Buick”, GM’s point-of-view ilk…which clearly makes it a GM fansite – Not particularly a Volt fansite, which it has always been – thus it’s name. I’m a fan of Jeff Cobb, I think Jeff’s doing a great job – especially since he doesn’t have the inside connections Lyle has, and some days I’m sure he’s stretching for a pertinent story to run here. I’m sure it’s not easy, especially in these dog days of no new Volt news to speak of. My heads-up is just a suggestion that perhaps the Lyle Dennis Days of 100 – 230 daily commentary posts vs. today’s 40 – 50 may be due to the die hard GM guys sticking around and the EV, EREV, PHEV and Green Energy folks movin’ on to new “green” pastures.

    So in case you missed my forest for all the trees – my point is I hope Jeff can steer away from populist articles here to please the GM faithful and stay true to Lyle’s form of Volt News and GM prodding, not uber praising.

    I’ve been a steady contributor on this site for years and you’d think I still wouldn’t be schooled on basic things like , “hey, this is a Volt fansite”….. lol. I’d think regulars here would know I’m a supercharged Volt fan through and through.

    RECHARGE!,

    James


  39. 39
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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (7:21 pm)

    Dave K.: BOB LUTZ: A Few Of My Favorite Cars (YouTube Video)

    DonC: Fun video! The guy has a good feel for cars.

    #32 & #36

    I have to confess that I skipped this at first, not having been the biggest Bob Lutz fan here, LOL. On Don’s recommendation I broke down and watched it. It really is very good, and his comments on the Volt at the end were gratifying.

    Thanks and +1 to both of you.


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    Noel Park

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (7:36 pm)

    James: not uber praising.

    #38

    I don’t see that going on here at all.


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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (8:01 pm)

    I’d like to see a “Second Life” program built in to every Volt purchase. Just think of the positive gains to baking the whole process into the buying experience of an EV/EREV/PHEV! Gone would be the ” Eww, lithium pollutes! ” toxiphobics, and the upside PR would be great, especially since one of Volt’s ( or any EV or PHEV’s ) biggest selling points is to be greener and cleaner.

    Perhaps GM’s partnership with ABB Group will lead to some sort of buyback program where, at the end of 100,000 miles GM will pay the current Volt owner $600 or thereabouts for their used battery pack. There’s the double-whammy —-> green and pays you back a mite for the hybrid premium you dished out! GM gets to repurpose the battery and glean all the bennies from all the good feeling. Tell those folks considering a Volt how someday their battery will be powering Grannie’s electric blanket in Poughkeepsie!!

    GM if you’re listening, in Volt you’re selling a whole lot of good feeling. When a car buyer rolls silently away from that dealership feeling good inside – it’s golden for repeat business and bottom line. Hybrid owners pay more, and I believe they pay more for that good feeling – as much as saving gas, saving the planet or reducing oil dependency. Anything you can do to increase that good hybrid feeling is basically money in the bank.

    Win-win, or am I barkin’ up the fantasy tree? What say you?

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


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    Eco_Turbo

     

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (8:18 pm)

    Electric pontoon boat batteries?

    A lot of foreign oil use could be eliminated powering pontoon boats with the degraded Volt batteries. Not to mention improved water quality in lakes! Thanks, media.gm for the original .JPGs which afforded a better look at the hot babe in the third photo in the linked article at AnABBGuy #6.


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    flmark

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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (8:24 pm)

    statik: Recycling/reclaiming materials is the only reasonable/fiscally viable application for out of warranty Volt batteries.Mr. ‘Joe Handy’ might be able to rig up some use (if he stumbles across a pack and values his time at nothing) …but there is no other business model, at least that I can see at the moment.

    …THIS is the business model

    KUD: Are those used packs going to be available to Consumers. It would be nice to have a 50KW pack sitting in my basement soaking up the excess power of my Solar Panels. I did not go Battery back up because I really didn’t want Deep Cycle Batteries in my Basement.

    I, too, am committed to supplementing my solar grid tied solution with my depleted Volt battery. If you look at doomsday scenarios, it is hard to stomach the thought of all that solar up on your roof which has ZERO value when the grid is down. However, current available battery technology is pointless when those batteries have a shelf life in FL of just a few years. I await Li-ion supplanting Pb-acid and know that there will indeed be a real market for individual battery packs several years down the road for those of us who want to ditch the smelly old gas generator we have to keep around even though we have several kw worth of solar capability on the roof.


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    Jul 22nd, 2011 (11:43 pm)

    statik: Mr. ‘Joe Handy’ might be able to rig up some use (if he stumbles across a pack and values his time at nothing) …but there is no other business model, at least that I can see at the moment.

    Since the industry considers them outside of automotive spec when they still have 70% of charge left, Joe’s only responsibility may be to plug them into a high voltage connector.


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    DonC

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    Jul 23rd, 2011 (12:53 am)

    James: From my perspective – I knock an ’80s GM product or point out something GM Marketing is doing – or any sort of comment THAT MAYBE PERHAPS could be percieved as critical to GM IN ANY WAY…and I’ve been negged and negged and negged on gm-volt.com.

    You need to stop and take a breadth. I’ve been quite critical of many decisions — not Statik critical but there are limits (LOL) — and my positive comments about GM’s marketing have been far and few between. However, GM and Nissan are the only two companies doing anything with electric vehicles. The rest of the bunch are just messing around. So yeah, I root for GM.

    The other part is that the Volt is a super car. That and the fact that GM has been a class act with the Volt roll out has altered my opinion of the company for the better. The contrast with Nissan is fairly stark.


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    Jul 23rd, 2011 (8:46 am)

    What I want to know is why GM did not “partner” with a American company like Eaton, GE or other electrical mfr?
    Not enough vacations to Norway?

    I don’t like the idea of always “partnering” with foreign companies and not considering American companies .. I think GM execs like to travel and get the perks of “partnering” with foreign companies.

    Jeff … you did not research why GM is partnering with this foreign company and not the many well qualified American companies… you should call companies like Eaton, GE or even schools like CMU and MIT who I’m sure would have plenty of reasearch ideas for battery usage.

    And if you do ask any questions.. don’t always accept the aswers as true. You should ask our companies why GM do not go to them.

    The VOLT is way ahead in the electric race… I see FORD utilizing more American technology …. this will be a selling point for me.

    The VOLT is a American technology.


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    Jul 23rd, 2011 (11:09 am)

    N Riley: Statik,Nice to hear from you again. How is it going. Got your Volt on order yet? I haven’t ordered one yet. Just waiting for them to be sold locally. Nissan says I can order a Leaf next week. Haven’t decided if I want to take them up on it or get my $99 back. Not a big deal either way. But good to see your comments on the site.

    HowDee to you as well, (=

    I’m still ‘around’ the site from time to time, and occasionally dip my toe into the shallow end of the comments, heeh.

    I did make a trip to my local Canadian Chevy dealer not too long ago…not really sure at what point an actual car will appear, but whats another few months after 4.5 years right?

    Also decided I’m going to order a ‘Canadian’ Leaf next week (for the wife to drive) to keep its imported American brother company in the driveway. I had been thinking about waiting and getting the i-MiEV, just so that I could say I have ‘the set’, but Mitsu couldn’t give me any solid delivery times…well, that and the wife would probably make me drive the i MiEV all the time, )=


  48. 48
    WVhybrid

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    Jul 23rd, 2011 (2:51 pm)

    pjkPA: What I want to know is why GM did not “partner” with a American company like Eaton, GE or other electrical mfr? Not enough vacations to Norway?

    Well, if it is any consolation, ABB bought some American companies over the years. Probably the most notable being Combustion Engineering.


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    Glen Jenkins

     

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    Jul 24th, 2011 (7:34 pm)

    AnABBGuy,

    Hi ABB Guy, from another ABB guy at ABB in Houston. Do you have a Volt yet? I picked up my Volt in March 2011 and drive it to ABB every day. You can look me up in Lotus Notes.


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    Jul 24th, 2011 (8:44 pm)

    DonC,

    Thanks for the info!


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    Jul 24th, 2011 (8:45 pm)

    OT – just got back from Chicago. The parking deck I parked at had 2 EV charging stations. Sweet!


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    John C. Briggs

     

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    Jul 26th, 2011 (9:37 pm)

    Always nice to have a big misspelling in the title of an article.