Aug 12

A123 Systems and GM announce large but unspecified battery supply contract

 

Yesterday General Motors announced that it awarded a production contract to A123 Systems for its advanced Nanophosphate® lithium ion batteries.

In a phone interview, GM Spokesman Kevin M. Kelly said A123 got the nod over Volt/Ampera battery supplier LG Chem after characteristics proved superior in tests performed at GM’s Global Battery Systems lab in Warren, Mich.

“We tested both cell chemistries and for the application this was an ideal solution,” Kelly said.


A battery engineering team GM’s Global Battery Systems lab in Warren, Mich.

Kelly said energy density compared to a battery sample submitted for the competitive bid by LG Chem was not superior, but GM’s engineering team went with A123 as it better met desired criteria including “packaging requirements and operating performance,” while meeting cost targets.

GM has no intentions to offer A123 batteries in the Volt or Ampera, Kelly said, and he confirmed the long-term relationship with LG Chem is still strong.

So, what are the A123 batteries for?

Kelly would not disclose whether they would be used for eAssist or a battery electric vehicle or another extended-range electric vehicle.

He said GM is still validating and testing the cells for a number of applications but GM is “not commenting right now” about its ultimate plans, or the A123 battery’s architecture or configuration.

What ever applications the batteries are to be used in, Automotive News reported A123 will be supplying “thousands to tens of thousands” of battery packs to GM, according to Jason Forcier, vice president for A123′s Automotive Solutions Group.

The company’s engineering will be completed at the end of 2012, Forcier said, and vehicles will go on sale sometime after.

As was the case with GM’s mum’s-the-word policy, Forcier would not identify the vehicles in the GM development program that will take advantage of batteries the company will in time deliver.

All that is known is that although a contract was awarded, more work remains. GM said its engineering team will now collaborate with A123’s engineering team on co-developing calibrations and software controls for the battery system in preparation for production.

“GM is committed to offering a full line of electrified vehicles – each of which calls for different battery specifications,” said Micky Bly, GM’s executive director – Global Electrical Systems, Infotainment and Electrification. “We work with a variety of battery developers and A123’s advanced Nanophosphate lithium ion technology offers ideal performance capabilities for a future electrified vehicle application.”

As GM-Volt readers know, A123 Systems was the strongest competitor against LG Chem in a contract bid that initially saw around one hundred battery companies compete for the Volt/Ampera contract.

A123′s lithium ion chemistry was first developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The company spun off in 2001, and now has about 3,000 employees. Its proprietary chemistry is known to combine high energy density and long life.

Although LG Chem is the Volt supplier, A123 has never really ceased working with GM. This latest agreement builds on existing development contracts between GM and A123 focused on next-generation lithium ion battery technology at both the cell and system level.

The A123 battery packs for the latest GM project(s) will be produced at A123′s plant in Livonia, Mich. Although he was not specific, Forcier said he expects it will require hundreds of additional employees.

And like GM, he offered a broad statement of ostensibly grand, but vaguely described plans.

“Today’s announcement is the latest milestone in the partnership between GM and A123, and it showcases the type of collaboration between U.S. companies necessary to build a long-term domestic battery and electric vehicle industry,” Forcier said. “This is a testament to GM’s continued commitment to leading the adoption of vehicle electrification technologies, and we believe that our selection as GM’s supplier for this global vehicle program validates our system-level expertise in delivering fully integrated battery packs for electric vehicles.”

Kelly said the contract bidding process was obviously well underway prior to tentative new CAFE rules just handed down, but he confirmed A123 Systems batteries will only help in meeting the 54.5 mpg (40mpg on window sticker) mandates.

Automotive News

This entry was posted on Friday, August 12th, 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: 138


  1. 1
    nasaman

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (6:43 am)

    Great timing as usual, Jeff! Yesterday President Obama made a notable speech from the new Johnson Controls Automotive Battery Plant in Holland, MI. And the news here from GM and A123 sources also comes right on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that GM management has approved the sexy Cadillac Coverj coupe shown below for production in 2013 as a 2014 model. So whether this new A123 agreement is for eAssist vehicles or other Voltec vehicles like the Converj, the US now has 3 major automotive battery factories in Michigan —great news in itself!

    cadillac-converj.jpg
    The Converj will feature “a Generation 1.5 Voltec drivetrain” with reportedly a little more “oomph” than the drivetrain underpinning the Chevrolet Volt.


  2. 2
    Eco_Turbo

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (6:47 am)

    nasaman: with a little more oomph than the drivetrain underpinning the Chevrolet Volt.

    More oomph is good. 8-)


  3. 3
    Koz

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (7:09 am)

    nasaman,

    RU suggesting A123 will the 1.5 battery for the Converj. I think you nailed it. The timing and volume are in line. If this is correct, I’m guessing they will have a Level 3 charge option as well.


  4. 4
    Roy_H

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (7:25 am)

    No, the Converje with its Volt system will remain with LG Chem. The most obvious application for the A123 batteries is with the Two-Mode Hybrid. LG Chem’s lithium polymer batteries have higher energy density but not as good as A123 on power. I suspect the cycle life on A123 is better as well ( I remember the A123 CEO claiming 8000 cycles on one test), I believe LG Chem is good for about 3000 cycles. Volts will cycle once or twice a day, but hybrids cycles several times due to their much smaller size. When you have a smaller size you need a battery that can put out relatively high power.


  5. 5
    Mikeinatl

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (7:33 am)

    Whatever else is going on here, it does look like GM is planning for a big electric future.
    By also tying up A123, they control two of the best lithium battery suppliers out there right now.

    Wow, that Converj is a real head-turner.
    Talk about halo. This one’s got tons of it!
    I hope the real car looks just like the concept car and not some watered down version with less sex appeal.


  6. 6
    Jim I

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (7:56 am)

    It is always better to have more than one supplier of a critical product! That way, if LG has a problem with manufacturing, I would imagine that there are now plans on paper to be able to use a different pack to keep production moving. And that is critical to the Volt’s success.

    Just look at the cyber gray paint situation. One plant in Japan gets wiped out, and there are no metallic gray cars produced by an entire company for an entire model year……… Not good.

    We are going with black on our ordered Volt, but cyber gray was our first choice.


  7. 7
    Nelson

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (8:22 am)

    Great news for AONE!

    As long as the A123 battery is paired with a plug to charge it overnight, I don’t care if it’s in a hybrid or voltec drive train.
    No-Plug, No-Sale.
    IMO, Non-pluggable hybrids are useless.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


  8. 8
    Loboc

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (8:30 am)

    I’m thinking a BEV to compete with Ford and Nissan directly.


  9. 9
    Tim Hart

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (8:45 am)

    This is really good news for the ongoing development of EVs and for American industry. A123 is exactly the kind of company that needs to be successful for American technology and innovation to regain its lost luster.


  10. 10
    kdawg

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (8:47 am)

    AONE stock was up over 40% yest.

    I think GM is going to throw E-assist into everything, but who knows.

    Decisions, decisions; buy a 2012 Volt, or keep saving and buy a 2014 Converge…


  11. 11
    Nelson

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (9:06 am)

    For those interested in the AONE stock.
    Be informed!

    Goldman Sachs analyst Mark Wienkes cut his rating on the stock to Neutral from Buy.

    “We are downgrading A123 to Neutral on lower visibility into the next catalyst we think will drive the stock – the extent of profitability longer term,” he writes in a research note. “Thursday’s announcement to supply GM provides comfort around A123’s relevance but does not address profit potential. Our DCF- and M&A-based, six-month price target goes to $5 from $9 on a higher discount rate, given limited clarity on the potential range of profitability and ongoing macro uncertainty.”

    AONE closed Thursday at $4.60.
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericsavitz/2011/08/12/a123-goldman-downgrades/?partner=yahootix

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


  12. 12
    Schmeltz

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (9:24 am)

    nasaman: And the news here from GM and A123 sources also comes right on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that GM management has approved the sexy Cadillac Coverj coupe shown below for production in 2013 as a 2014 model.

    Is this true or are you teasing us Nasaman? I didn’t see this news but would be ecstatic if confirmed true. Can you point me to a link?


  13. 13
    nasaman

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (9:35 am)

    Schmeltz: nasaman: And the news here from GM and A123 sources also comes right on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that GM management has approved the sexy Cadillac Coverj coupe shown below for production in 2013 as a 2014 model.

    Is this true or are you teasing us Nasaman? I didn’t see this news but would be ecstatic if confirmed true. Can you point me to a link?

    More than one journalist reported it. Here’s one:
    http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1064793_cadillacs-volt-based-converj-electric-car-gets-green-light-exclusive


  14. 14
    Driverguy01

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (9:37 am)

    LIFEP04 batteries are longer lasting, are not affected by temperature but have less density Lithium ion batts. i bought a pack from china for my wife’s electric bike 2 years ago: compared to led batteries, she could do 3X as much distance with it so imagine a voltec system that don’t need a temperature control for the batteries, no cooling but, GM will have to fill the platform with those batteries and they do need Batterie Management System and you can pretty much shape them as you want. In fact, i was a little peadoff when GM went with LGChem instead of A123. I can very well see a nice Converj with the bottom filled with batteries and at least twice as much range as the volt and no need to cool em down or heat em up even in -20C weather…Tht’s my next dream car….after i get my Volt , of course.


  15. 15
    Jeff Cobb

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (9:44 am)

    nasaman,

    Thanks nasaman.


  16. 16
    George S. Bower

     

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (10:07 am)

    Roy_H: No, the Converje with its Volt system will remain with LG Chem. The most obvious application for the A123 batteries is with the Two-Mode Hybrid. LG Chem’s lithium polymer batteries have higher energy density but not as good as A123 on power. I suspect the cycle life on A123 is better as well ( I remember the A123 CEO claiming 8000 cycles on one test), I believe LG Chem is good for about 3000 cycles. Volts will cycle once or twice a day, but hybrids cycles several times due to their much smaller size. When you have a smaller size you need a battery that can put out relatively high power.

    Roy,
    I think you are correct. My recollection is that nano’s have a very good C rate AND a very high cycle life. The high C rate also applies to charge cycle in addition to discharge. So your call on L3 (like I have been asking for on the Volt ) is a good one. I have also speculated on a 2 mode hybrid but had written that off as too far away from the Voltec platform to actually be done by GM but who knows. You offer some very interesting specualtion.

    The nano’s are also good for electric busses that need to be charge many times and at very high C rates but I don’t think that is the case here.


  17. 17
    George S. Bower

     

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (10:13 am)

    Oops sorry L3 was Koz’s idea.


  18. 18
    George S. Bower

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (10:16 am)

    Driverguy01: LIFEP04 batteries are longer lasting, are not affected by temperature but have less density Lithium ion batts. i bought a pack from china for my wife’s electric bike 2 years ago: compared to led batteries, she could do 3X as much distance with it so imagine a voltec system that don’t need a temperature control for the batteries, no cooling but, GM will have to fill the platform with those batteries and they do need Batterie Management System and you can pretty much shape them as you want. In fact, i was a little peadoff when GM went with LGChem instead of A123. I can very well see a nice Converj with the bottom filled with batteries and at least twice as much range as the volt and no need to cool em down or heat em up even in -20C weather…Tht’s my next dream car….after i get my Volt , of course.

    Yes the insensitivity to temp is also a good attribute. Too bad Herm is not around anymore he would be ecstatic about this as he was always a proponent of the Fe battery chemistry.

    Eliminate the battery cooling???
    Now there is a provacative thought also.

    Jeff,
    this news is some of the most interesting things in quite some time.


  19. 19
    George S. Bower

     

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (10:19 am)

    If these are for e-assist then I would suggest that a Cruze w/ e-assist might be a dynomite combination. (not my idea though–john1701′s).

    Maybe WOT would agree also …he likes e assist


  20. 20
    Jim in NJ

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (10:26 am)

    Roy_H,

    Are you sure that A123 won’t supply the Converj “Volt 1.5″ architecture? It’s my understanding that nobody’s batteries beat A123′s power. This means that it could be possible for the Converj to truly use all available power in a “Volt 1.5″ drivetrain. I’m talking about driving both the 111 kW (149 hp) main traction motor AND the 55 kW (74 hp) generator/motor at full capacity (the current Volt cannot do this). This would give a usable 223 horsepower and whopping 400+ lb/ft of torque! This could blow away the Cadillac CTS at the track! (But probably not the CTS-V….)


  21. 21
    Nelson

     

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (10:30 am)

    Charge density is one thing, but I wonder what the actual density (mass per unit volume) of these different batteries is? Does anyone know if one type of chemistry is heavier than the other?
    I’m sure the total weight of the battery pack is a consideration.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


  22. 22
    EVO

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (10:36 am)

    kdawg:

    Decisions, decisions; buy a 2012 Volt, or keep saving and buy a 2014 Converge…

    From my personal experience:

    Buy a 2012 Volt ASAP, you lucky dawg. Your daily operating and maintenance savings compared to whatever full gasser you currently have can immediately start going towards purchasing a 2016 Converj and you will always have a museum quality classic with the Volt.

    me:
    2007 purchase (2008 MY) Zero X
    2011 purchase (2010 MY) Zero S

    The X is still fully as powerful as the day I got it, which no full gasser can ever claim, and the range is hanging in there strong.

    Converj sales will also boost Volt sales as folks who really, really, really want the Converj but can’t quite afford it may settle for the Volt as getting a fair chunk of what the Converj will offer at a relative bargain.

    Still waiting for GM to get the Volt to my local dealers … … … … … I’ve seen faster rollouts from snails.


  23. 23
    George S. Bower

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (10:36 am)

    Nelson: Charge density is one thing, but I wonder what the actual density (mass per unit volume) of these different batteries is?Does anyone know if one type of chemistry is heavier than the other? I’m sure the total weight of the battery pack is a consideration.

    NPNS! Volt#671

    Nelson,

    I think the Fe’s have a lower kwh/ kg than LG’s but the cycle life is so much higher you don’t need to oversize the pack (by a factor of 2)


  24. 24
    George S. Bower

     

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (10:39 am)

    Nelson,
    “Kelly said energy density compared to a battery sample submitted for the competitive bid by LG Chem was not superior, “


  25. 25
    ccombs

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (10:44 am)

    I imagine putting large numbers of these as small packs in the e-assist buick and other models makes the most sense.


  26. 26
    George S. Bower

     

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (10:46 am)

    Well so let’s see the possible apps are :

    BEV, Converj, 2mode plug in, e-assist

    (or perhaps some other high performance plug in app). like:

    Killer Vette.

    Hmmmm.

    It would make for an interesting betting pool.


  27. 27
    Jeff Cobb

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (10:46 am)

    George S. Bower: Jeff,
    this news is some of the most interesting things in quite some time.

    Thanks George.


  28. 28
    Anthony

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (11:06 am)

    Didn’t A123 say they would be able to deliver batteries for $400/kwh by end of 2012? A 16kwh battery would only cost $6400, compared to the $8000 or so they cost now, and that’s assuming they can’t downsize the pack due to higher power and longer cycle life. I guess the real question is can they incrementally improve performance 8% a year like the rest of the battery industry. There is still two years between now and the Converj launch so we’ll see what improvements if any A123 can bring.


  29. 29
    Tom W

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (11:14 am)

    Nelson: Goldman Sachs analyst Mark Wienkes cut his rating on the stock to Neutral from Buy.
    “We are downgrading A123 to Neutral on lower visibility into the next catalyst we think will drive the stock – the extent of profitability longer term,” he writes in a research note.

    So that means they are downgrading the stock to buy the shares cheaper and accumulate.


  30. 30
    Schmeltz

     

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (11:30 am)

    nasaman: More than one journalist reported it. Here’s one:

    Thanks for the link. I hope they stick with this plan now and don’t flip flop again.


  31. 31
    CorvetteGuy

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (11:37 am)

    Selling the VOLT is easy to a qualified buyer.
    So, selling the Converj would be like shooting fish in a barrel.
    Hmmmm….
    Maybe I should consider moving across the street to Cadillac in a year or so.


  32. 32
    DonC

     

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (11:38 am)

    ccombs: I imagine putting large numbers of these as small packs in the e-assist buick and other models makes the most sense.

    I think GM has a supply contract with Hitachi for the eAssist batteries. Maybe kdawg can confirm this.


  33. 33
    DonC

     

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (11:41 am)

    Loboc: I’m thinking a BEV to compete with Ford and Nissan directly.

    Didn’t someone from A123 say this before they were told not to say this? LOL

    Whatever the case, if the contract were to supply batteries for an existing and known application I’d assume they’d just say this since it would not be a big deal. The fact they’re being tight-lipped about it suggests it’s a new and unannounced application. So the BEV idea makes sense. My thinking anyway.


  34. 34
    DonC

     

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (11:43 am)

    CorvetteGuy: Maybe I should consider moving across the street to Cadillac in a year or so.

    If you could make a living off the three allocations you’d probably get that would be a good idea!


  35. 35
    CorvetteGuy

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (11:51 am)

    DonC: If you could make a living off the three allocations you’d probably get that would be a good idea!

    Point well taken. But I’m sure a Converj has more than the $1,800 dealer profit that a VOLT has. Actually, I was thinking more of the ‘Manager’s Demo’ angle… ;)


  36. 36
    BLIND GUY

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (11:53 am)

    Good; more jobs for Americans with a company with roots from MIT research. I would like to know why LG Chem. was chosen over A123 for batteries for the Volt in the first place. If GM is going forward with the Converj, I hope they build the Gen II Volt with the lower middle-class in mind and satisfy people with deeper pockets with the Converj JMO. With oil prices currently going down it will take keeping your eyes on the future; to be ready for it when it slaps you in the face. The future is electric.


  37. 37
    Mitch

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (12:00 pm)

    nasaman,

    YYYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  38. 38
    CorvetteGuy

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (12:17 pm)

    DonC: If you could make a living off the three allocations you’d probably get that would be a good idea!

    I suppose the real question would be: “Which of these would I have more fun selling in 2013 ?”

    decisions.jpg


  39. 39
    Anthony

     

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (12:17 pm)

    After doing a little more math, I’m with Roy in thinking the A123 contract is going to be for a two-mode vehicle. Small battery (6kWh), high DoD, high power output, high cycle life (2-3x per day). The battery would be cheaper ($400/kWh is $2400 for the cells, plus another $500 for the pack itself – air cooled, not liquid cooled), and more suited for a mid-$20K car to compete with a Prius plug-in and Ford Energi plug-in.

    Take a Volt, put the third seat in the back, put the battery pack across the back part of the “T-cell”, upsize the engine a bit (1.6L), alter the software and go. With a Volt-style body and 3mi/kWh, you’d probably get 14-15 miles of useful range. Maybe by 2013 or 2014 we’d see more recharging infrastructure in place such that recharging at work or while shopping would be practical to keep the vehicle operating on 70% electricity over the long run and ensure positive ROI.


  40. 40
    Jackson

     

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (12:21 pm)

    Our speculations so far:

    1) Converj! (perhaps other new EREV models, too)

    2) e-Assist (widely offered), and plug in 2-mode

    3) a BEV

    There is no overwhelming reason why only one of these things might be true. In fact, I’d expect both 1 & 2 to be correct.

    Roy_H: LG Chem’s lithium polymer batteries have higher energy density but not as good as A123 on power. I suspect the cycle life on A123 is better as well ( I remember the A123 CEO claiming 8000 cycles on one test), I believe LG Chem is good for about 3000 cycles.

    If this is true, smaller packs for e-Assist and 2-mode make good sense. Higher power in larger packs may also become an asset for “performance” vehicles.

    It may also open the EREV field to larger vehicles.

    A BEV is highly speculative at this point, and I don’t look for it in the immediate future.

    Keep in mind that a pack for a longer-range pure EV only needs to be cycled (in most cases) once a day or less, making cycle life less of an issue. If GM is committed to LG Chem by contract, a BEV might become a large repository for their cells as A123 begins to replace them for shorter range types; though I would hope that GM won’t move forward on any BEV until they can make one which gets a real world 100 – 120 miles.


  41. 41
    EVO

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (12:35 pm)

    BLIND GUY: With oil prices currently going down

    Your claim is testable. Oil prices (WTI) are up 8.5% just in the last three days in real time and China just substantially appreciated their currency, which will stimulate the US (and rest of world) domestic economy to more than balance the resulting moderation in China growth and inflation.

    (Mostly blended) electric drive is here to stay on superior performance, refinement and simplicity alone. All it took was letting retail consumers taste even a little of what it can do when properly integrated.


  42. 42
    EVO

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (12:43 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: I suppose the real question would be: “Which of these would I have more fun selling in 2013 ?”

    I have no idea what the first car pictured is (the second one is a Converj, right?) , but you now have street credibility as the (in your local area) go to sales guy for electric performance vehicles, so you should obviously sell both Volts and Converjs. When will GM get the brass ones to make a plug in Vette that’ll smoke the Porsche 918 plug in Spyder at a better price?


  43. 43
    Jackson

     

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (12:45 pm)

    BLIND GUY: With oil prices currently going down it will take keeping your eyes on the future; to be ready for it when it slaps you in the face. The future is electric.

    EVO: Oil prices (WTI) are up 8.5% just in the last three days

    We are going to see far greater volatility in oil prices. A major asset of any plug-in is it’s ability to stabilize transportation costs for it’s owner. Critics like to cite the pure-cost argument against expensive plug-in vehicles; but they don’t take into account their extra insurance value.


  44. 44
    DonC

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (12:49 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: I suppose the real question would be: “Which of these would I have more fun selling in 2013 ?”

    I’d think for someone with the handle “CorvetteGuy” this would not be much of a question. LOL


  45. 45
    EVO

     

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (12:49 pm)

    Jackson,

    Agreed, except that plug ins are cheaper over their lifetime. It’s only the up front costs that are more.

    On oil volatility, oh yeah, I should stick with my own argument from three days ago, huh?


  46. 46
    DonC

     

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (12:51 pm)

    Jackson: Critics like to cite the pure-cost argument against expensive plug-in vehicles; but they don’t take into account their extra insurance value.

    +100 Profound point. Especially on a macro level. We’d have much better growth if the economy wasn’t so tied to oil prices. In fact I doubt the Great Recession would have ever happened.


  47. 47
    Steve

     

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (12:55 pm)

    Makes me think the Volt supplier decision was very close from a technical standpoint and the tie-breaker might not have been battery performance.


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    Aug 12th, 2011 (1:12 pm)

    #41 EVO (Mostly blended) electric drive is here to stay on superior performance, refinement and simplicity alone.

    Agreed, however after filling up at Costco yesterday at $3.17 gal. and hearing on the local news that there was speculation that oil prices could go down even further with the world economy struggling; there are a lot of people that won’t pay more for electric if gas prices over-all have been going lower the past few months. IMHO oil prices will increase in the long-term but EV sales might suffer during short-terms drops in oil prices.


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    Aug 12th, 2011 (1:29 pm)

    Anthony: After doing a little more math, I’m with Roy in thinking the A123 contract is going to be for a two-mode vehicle. Small battery (6kWh), high DoD, high power output, high cycle life (2-3x per day). The battery would be cheaper ($400/kWh is $2400 for the cells, plus another $500 for the pack itself – air cooled, not liquid cooled), and more suited for a mid-$20K car to compete with a Prius plug-in and Ford Energi plug-in.

    Take a Volt, put the third seat in the back, put the battery pack across the back part of the “T-cell”, upsize the engine a bit (1.6L), alter the software and go. With a Volt-style body and 3mi/kWh, you’d probably get 14-15 miles of useful range. Maybe by 2013 or 2014 we’d see more recharging infrastructure in place such that recharging at work or while shopping would be practical to keep the vehicle operating on 70% electricity over the long run and ensure positive ROI.

    Anthony,

    The 2 mode and the Volt transmission are 2 different things.


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    Aug 12th, 2011 (1:39 pm)

    BLIND GUY: hearing on the local news

    Keep focused on the prize (where’s the next cheese). Lower oil short term simply lowers all input costs broadly in the early launches as things scale up hugely (esp. w/ e-assist). That actually helps e-sales. So, low oil prices lower overall producer costs for increased e-sales as they launch and ramp up, volatile oil prices help e-sales as a form of insurance and high oil helps e-sales which lower direct consumer costs. It looks like e-sales are going up no matter what oil does. It’s now just a question of the shape and pace of the upwardness, which is most influenced by how fast the dinosaurs (full gasser with only 3 or 4 speed and no turbo, no fuel injection, no alt fuel and/or no e-drive) are phased out. The ball, for now, is still in the OEMs’ court, but it’s attached to their raquets with a string now (finally) so they have to keep hitiing it back, which actually benefits them, consumers and the economy in the long run.


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    T 1

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (1:44 pm)

    Great news today–another battery supplier and the Converj coming in only 2 years! (feels like forever, though) Congrats GM. I’m doing the electric slide.

    Great when a company refocuses on PRODUCT.

    Here’s an idea–I wonder if GM would take volunteers. I’d guess that a lot of true-believers would help them for little or no $. In addition to us here at GM-Volt.com, of course!


  52. 52
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    Aug 12th, 2011 (1:44 pm)

    EVO: I have no idea what the first car pictured is (the second one is a Converj, right?) , but you now have street credibility as the (in your local area) go to sales guy for electric performance vehicles, so you should obviously sell both Volts and Converjs. When will GM get the brass ones to make a plug in Vette that’ll smoke the Porsche 918 plug in Spyder at a better price?

    The car on the left is the 2013 Corvette Concept car. I still don’t know if that is how the finished car will look. The concept was used in the Transformers movies.


  53. 53
    Jim I

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (1:48 pm)

    I just hope that GM looks past the short term oil price market. If they see oil prices going down, they may get weak in the knees and stop the Converj program again. That would be a long term bad strategy, IMHO…………..

    Just keep building them!!!!


  54. 54
    EVO

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (1:50 pm)

    Blind Guy:

    Electric still wins on a direct cost basis as a secondary energy carrier overall so long as gas (or natural gas) is above 75 cents a gallon. When was gas last that amount?


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    Aug 12th, 2011 (1:57 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: The car on the left is the 2013 Corvette Concept car. I still don’t know if that is how the finished car will look. The concept was used in the Transformers movies.

    meh. The last Vette I was near was pretty new, sounded like it badly needed a muffler and a tune up and was shaking uncontrollably at stop sign. It was pretty funny watching its mirrors wiggle, though.

    I’m sure the Converj sounds better, has beefier low end torque of its max available, faster responsiveness (electric can work close to the speed of light), smoother acceleration and deceleration, quieter ride and better weight distribution if done right. Unless there’s a plug in Vette (no full gasser version, please) in the works to correct some of its full gasser deficiencies?


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    Aug 12th, 2011 (2:00 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: The car on the left is the 2013 Corvette Concept car. I still don’t know if that is how the finished car will look. The concept was used in the Transformers movies.

    The ultimate question will be if the Corvette fanboiz will go for an electric drive instead of a huge honkin’ V-8. There could be a lot of fall-out if V-8 is dropped.

    The sound and the fury are important as well. Why do you think the tuners use loud mufflers instead of quiet ones?

    We may get over it eventually, but, there is nothing like a 400+HP V-8 to flip your nickel. As far as I can see so far, the power-to-weight ratio for a battery car just isn’t there yet.


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    Aug 12th, 2011 (2:27 pm)

    EVO: Blind Guy:

    Electric still wins on a direct cost basis as a secondary energy carrier overall so long as gas (or natural gas) is above 75 cents a gallon. When was gas last that amount?

    Yeah, but the ‘gas tank’ costs $10,000 more and weighs 15x as much when full.


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    Aug 12th, 2011 (2:31 pm)

    Loboc: The ultimate question will be if the Corvette fanboiz will go for an electric drive instead of a huge honkin’ V-8. There could be a lot of fall-out if V-8 is dropped.

    It’s just my personal observation, but most of us ‘Corvette FanBoiz’ are over 50. At least at the car shows I attend. It is time for a Corvette that appeals to the ‘next generation’. That is why I feel pretty confident that the next Vette will look like the Transformers movie car. That one got a lot of thumbs up from my older son (33) and his friends. If it had electric drive, I don’t think that would make any of them blink twice. But I would miss the sound of an LS7 with Dual-Mode Exhaust…. (((…sniff…)))


  59. 59
    nasaman

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (2:33 pm)

    Loboc: We may get over it eventually, but there is nothing like a 400+HP V-8 to flip your nickel. As far as I can see, the power-to-weight ratio for a battery car just isn’t there yet.

    Ya think??? Have a look at the Quimera AEGT01 BEV running around the Motorland F1 race track: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jIcWBe2_4w

    Quimera’s designers claim it has 690 HP (700 PS metric) and can reach 186 MPH (300 Km/hr)!


  60. 60
    T 1

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (2:36 pm)

    Loboc: The ultimate question will be if the Corvette fanboiz will go for an electric drive instead of a huge honkin’ V-8. There could be a lot of fall-out if V-8 is dropped.
    The sound and the fury are important as well. Why do you think the tuners use loud mufflers instead of quiet ones?

    They should go all-electric and just amp up the safety noise-maker to, say, 1000 watts. And make it sound like a jet fighter, as long as there is the infinite number of sound choices. Heck, have a dial-a-sound feature–jet fighter, NASCAR car, space ship, Metallica, nails on chalkboard, farting, whatever. And make it programable, like ring tones. Now THAT would be a fun after-mkt.


  61. 61
    Nelson

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (2:46 pm)

    BLIND GUY: Agreed, however after filling up at Costco yesterday at $3.17 gal. and hearing on the local news that there was speculation that oil prices could go down even further with the world economy struggling; there are a lot of people that won’t pay more for electric if gas prices over-all have been going lower the past few months. IMHO oil prices will increase in the long-term but EV sales might suffer during short-terms drops in oil prices.

    That’s the beauty of the Volt. If gas prices become lower then electricity, don’t plug in the Volt; let the ICE make the electricity. The Volt is the only true duel fuel vehicle.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


  62. 62
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    Aug 12th, 2011 (2:56 pm)

    People who buy EREV (or any pure electric drive) will do so because it is better. People who merely want to save gas due to high-priced oil will end up with HEV or PHEV, if these are cheap enough to make the numbers work. Alternatively, they may wait until the cost of pure electric drive comes down. GM will soon be well-poised to go either way (or both).


  63. 63
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    Aug 12th, 2011 (2:59 pm)

    Loboc: The ultimate question will be if the Corvette fanboiz will go for an electric drive instead of a huge honkin’ V-8. There could be a lot of fall-out if V-8 is dropped.

    The sound and the fury are important as well. Why do you think the tuners use loud mufflers instead of quiet ones?

    We may get over it eventually, but, there is nothing like a 400+HP V-8 to flip your nickel. As far as I can see so far, the power-to-weight ratio for a battery car just isn’t there yet.

    Great. My electric X has best power to weight ratio in class, by far. Now do power to weight divided by price of energy source. Cars with e-drive win on performance/operating cost bang for buck.

    For the answer, just add e-drive to a more efficient V-8 – sound and fury does not depend soley on an engine and could be a simple touch screen choice when you don’t have it make ice cream vendor sounds to weird out the Prii drivers when you waft by them at 120 mph on the freeway. C’mon, you know you want to. QED.

    Tuning is more often done, on the fly even, with a solid state computer stic, software and algorithms these day than with olde-timey static mechanicalations.

    Edit: Oops, I see T 1 beat me to it and did a better job. I defer.


  64. 64
    EVO

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (3:11 pm)

    nasaman,

    Ya, but the Quimera is still 1 motor short of four near wheel AWD. There’s still much improvement ahead.


  65. 65
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    Aug 12th, 2011 (3:11 pm)

    nasaman: Ya think??? Have a look at the Quimera AEGT01 BEV running around the Motorland F1 race track: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jIcWBe2_4w

    Quimera’s designers claim it has 690 HP (700 PS metric) and can reach 186 MPH (300 Km/hr)!

    NASCAR runs over 200mph. Some drag racers more than that. I’m not saying it can’t be done, it’s just a little ways down the road yet.

    F1 is interesting because their new rule is that when in the pit lane they ‘must run on electric drive exclusively’. This should produce some very creative designs.


  66. 66
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    Aug 12th, 2011 (3:15 pm)

    CorvetteGuy:I would miss the sound of an LS7 with Dual-Mode Exhaust…. (((…sniff…)))

    No need to miss it at all. Simple record it, and play it back, pedal activated, at 2X original volume. Do those of us already living the dream have to think of everything?

    p.s. I sometime use my lips to emulate Harley sounds for those who think my ride it too quiet. Even that works.


  67. 67
    Loboc

     

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (3:30 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: It is time for a Corvette that appeals to the ‘next generation’.

    It’s only old guys that can afford them :) . Plus, unless the design is seriously redone for gen-Y, they are still going to be perceived as old-guy cars.

    If GM does a high-performance electric drive car, it needs to be something completely different imho. No Camaro. No Corvette. No Impala SS. No Chevelle. No Nova. Something like a Spyder or an old Triumph maybe. But next gen. More like the original Volt concept.


  68. 68
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    Aug 12th, 2011 (3:30 pm)

    Loboc: NASCAR runs over 200mph.

    At that speed, it’s ALL about aerodynamics, weight (power density) (and infinite subtleties of tweaking of EVERYTHING). In other words, NASCAR anwers the question “What if I drove a mediocre small plane on the ground with the wings upside down and glued to the plane?” Now that electric and hybrid airplanes are coming on strong, expect the Quimera and plug in Pipistrel/Cri-Cri worlds to start to meld. The odds of seeing NASCAR level short distance (10 laps) sprint races for full e-drive cars and long distance endurance races (esp blended turbo diesel quick swap (when you change tires, drivers or do any other pit work) plug in power pack/KERS/regen brake) is 100% – it’s just a question of when. Indy and Daytona 1000 or 1500 with plug ins, anyone? It’ll trickle down to improve retail street offerings to Joe Shmoe and family and bottom line profits.


  69. 69
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    Aug 12th, 2011 (3:38 pm)

    Loboc: Yeah, but the ‘gas tank’ costs $10,000 more and weighs 15x as much when full.

    Of course, using blended e-drive (such as EREV) lowers both your numbers. Even so, it still saves you money over the lifetime of the vehicle with off the shelf scaled tech as is right this second. As costs come down, scale goes up, and tech improves, the case for e-drive only gets stronger. Plus it keeps more money in the US. if the US wants to have money (T 1 made me doubt that the other day).


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    Aug 12th, 2011 (3:55 pm)

    DonC,

    Sorry, I don’t know when the contract expires.


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    Aug 12th, 2011 (4:13 pm)

    EVO: NASCAR anwers the question “What if I drove a mediocre small plane on the ground with the wings upside down and glued to the plane?”

    There’s a little more to it :) .

    Seriously, don’t be talking like that at the Texas Motor Speedway. Those guys are hard core and a few are drunk-n-disorderly.


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    DonC

     

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (4:18 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: It’s just my personal observation, but most of us ‘Corvette FanBoiz’ are over 50.

    Part of that is just that guys over 50 have more money. The more daunting part is that young guys want sedans. They may not understand that but they do. All for the simple reason that it’s hard to get the posse into the vehicle unless you have four or five doors. Heck, people even want pickup trucks to have four doors.

    Personal luxury cars just don’t fit well into the very connected lives of young people.


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    Aug 12th, 2011 (4:22 pm)

    EVO: p.s. I sometime use my lips to emulate Harley sounds for those who think my ride it too quiet. Even that works.

    They made a commercial about guys like you. Check it out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1xkm8KtlZg


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    WVhybrid

     

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (4:28 pm)

    kdawg: AONE stock was up over 40% yest.

    Decisions, decisions; buy a 2012 Volt, or keep saving and buy a 2014 Converge…

    Don’t fool around….. buy BOTH !


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    Aug 12th, 2011 (4:28 pm)

    Loboc,

    I resemble your remark. I know the NASCAR and larger racing world just a tad.

    DonC,

    Very funny ad.


  76. 76
    EVO

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (4:33 pm)

    WVhybrid: Don’t fool around….. buy BOTH !

    As I already suggested, the first purchase will result in savings that can go towards the second purchase.


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    George S. Bower

     

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (7:01 pm)

    DonC: Part of that is just that guys over 50 have more money.

    Very insightful as usual DonC!!

    (and I’m being serious for a change)


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    Aug 12th, 2011 (7:32 pm)

    T 1: Metallica

    Lol. There’s a huge difference between Metallica concert and a cassette tape!!


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    George S. Bower

     

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (7:51 pm)

    Loboc: Lol. There’s a huge difference betweenMetallica concert and a cassette tape!!

    I don’t know.
    I like XM.
    Jam Bands ch 29
    It’s the whole east coast concert thing cuzz everyone on the east coast comes alive in the summer.


  80. 80
    jeffhre

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (8:02 pm)

    George S. Bower: Yes the insensitivity to temp is also a good attribute. Too bad Herm is not around anymore he would be ecstatic about this as he was always a proponent of the Fe battery chemistry.
    Eliminate the battery cooling???
    Now there is a provacative thought also.
    Jeff,
    this news is some of the most interesting things in quite some time.

    GSB,
    Herm was on the Forums yesterday – at least I thought his forum comment was for yesterdays news.

    The greater life cycles and power density are great, but the holy grail for full EV mode is higher energy density. Another reason GM stuck with LG for Voltec. And another element bringing the Volt in line with EV rather than “ordinary” hybrid-electric vehicles.


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    Aug 12th, 2011 (8:09 pm)

    jeffhre: GSB, Herm was on the Forums yesterday –

    Great, glad i checked back in.


  82. 82
    George S. Bower

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (8:14 pm)

    jeffhre:
    The greater life cycles and power density are great, but the holy grail for full EV mode is higher energy density.

    Totally true.
    That’s why I vote for e-assist for this battery.

    and why Tesla goes w/ the highest kwh/ kg battery since they have a huge pack.

    GSB


  83. 83
    Raymondjram

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    Aug 12th, 2011 (8:18 pm)

    DonC:
    Personal luxury cars just don’t fit well into the very connected lives of young people.

    Tell that to Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Jaguar, Porsche, and other sports vehicle manufacturers. Some are designing and building electric and hybrid sports cars just for those who have the money (and don’t care about the age). GM can fulfill the American needs with the Cadillac line, but as long as someone promotes them, luxury cars will sell everywhere, even if gas goes to $100 a gallon.

    If GM can produce a world class Cadillac EREV or EV and offer it for less than $80,000 to undersell the imports, then GM will lead that market.

    Raymond


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    Aug 12th, 2011 (8:26 pm)

    George S. Bower: Totally true.
    That’s why I vote for e-assist for this battery.
    and why Tesla goes w/ the highest kwh/ kg battery since they have a huge pack.

    Agreed, would be nice to have that fast charge capability, though. Some day there will be “infrastructure.” Fast charging could even go a long way toward solving the what about on street parking, apartments, coops and condominiums question.


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    Aug 12th, 2011 (8:40 pm)

    jeffhre: Agreed, would be nice to have that fast charge capability, though. Some day there will be “infrastructure.” Fast charging could even go a long way toward solving the what about on street parking, apartments, coops and condominiums question.

    Yes , the drawback on he high kwh/lb batts if they are laptop limits to 1 C charge rate (but I could be wrong on that)

    I think the nanos are on both cathode and anode side. ..and so they would have a good C rate on both charge AND discharge.


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    Aug 12th, 2011 (9:02 pm)

    Jim in NJ,

    Am I sure? No, I do not work for GM, and am only speculating. But I have spent a lot of time reading about batteries, and feel confident about my statements. A123 was runner-up for the Volt, so it obviously would not be a bad choice. Several have pounced on the more robust issue for temperature management. I get the impression that GM would not take that chance anyway, that is even if they went with A123 they would stick with their liquid cooling/warming system. Nissan’s LEAF batteries are similar to A123, and they provide no warranty for range/charge over the life of the car like GM does for the Volt. Given that the LEAF is not liquid cooled and has this more rugged chemistry, why don’t they have a better warranty? Nissan also stated that all LEAFs coming off lease will get new batteries before being sold.


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    Aug 12th, 2011 (9:17 pm)

    Roy_H: Jim in NJ,

    that is even if they went with A123 they would stick with their liquid cooling/warming system.

    Except for e-assist??

    Not sure but I think e-assist would NOT have a battery cooling system.

    Where is WOT.??


  88. 88
    Jackson

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    Aug 13th, 2011 (1:38 am)

    Any battery improvement which increases cycle life can be extremely relevant for EREV: It could lead to a stronger serial mode when the AER is exhausted.

    The Volt’s engine must follow the load pretty closely to conserve the LG Chem cells’ precious 3000 or so charge/discharge cycles. With more cycles to play with, there is no particular need to follow load so closely. In other words, a smaller engine operating more efficiently over a narrower power band could take it’s time “catching up” with a spike in the load. This all leads to more efficiency in CS-mode; maybe a lot more.

    The energy density issue is not something to ignore for the sake of CS-mode, however.

    What if a small long-cycle pack were combined with a larger energy-dense one? The small long-cycle pack would boost performance, improve CS-mode, and entirely free the larger pack from the task of regenerative braking (conserving it’s more limited cycle life). It’s greater cycle life means that the small pack needn’t be pampered as much; it becomes the ‘whipping boy’ for the larger, less resilient pack.

    And here’s the kicker: It’s possible that the same pack which provides this service for EREV would be installed by itself in an e-Assist. Commonality of design would lead to larger production efficiencies and lower costs.


  89. 89
    Jackson

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    Aug 13th, 2011 (1:50 am)

    George S. Bower: Where is WOT.??

    On tour?

    ;-)

    Sorry, couldn’t resist …


  90. 90
    nasaman

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    Aug 13th, 2011 (3:33 am)

    OT but exciting news:
    Ford plans teaming with an established solar provider, SunPower, to offer a solar energy system through Ford dealers in conjunction with the Focus electric sedan that goes on sale later this year.* A chap who contributes here occasionally, Tom Moloughney, said in response to this brilliant marketing announcement from Ford: “We should start our own OPEC. Solar electric combined with an electric car is: Our Personal Energy Choice.” Very clever, Tom! I can’t wait to have my own personal OPEC!!!

    drivewayx-large.jpg
    Hopefully, GM & other dealers will follow Ford’s ingenious marketing lead!

    * http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2011/08/ford-focus-solar-panels-sunpower/1


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    pjkPA

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    Aug 13th, 2011 (7:36 am)

    Good to see GM investing in the US … If they had a car with batteries made in the US by A123.. that would be a decision maker for me. The more US content the better as far as I’m concerned.

    The FORD idea is great …


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    Aug 13th, 2011 (8:55 am)

    l just read an article stating in part:
    “Volt owners may notice that during a cabin conditioning (remote start) event in cold ambient temperatures, the internal combustion engine (ICE) runs even with the vehicle plugged into a charger”.
    does the volt know when it is in a garage and it’s a no-no to start ?

    bring out more volts…..l want one…now!


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    Roy_H

     

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    Aug 13th, 2011 (9:10 am)

    George S. Bower: Except for e-assist??

    Not sure but I think e-assist would NOT have a battery cooling system.

    Where is WOT.??

    Ok, I agree. I will have to qualify that statement and say liquid cooling only for large battery packs.


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    Aug 13th, 2011 (9:26 am)

    nasaman,

    nasaman,
    just checked the Quimera video and wondered if they forgot the paddle shifter and aerodynamic front end….lol
    good video and good to see all these new technologies coming on line…
    and thank you for your enlightening insight that you add to this site over the last few years……
    harold…waiting patiently for my volt….


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    Jeff Cobb

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    Aug 13th, 2011 (10:28 am)

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    George S. Bower

     

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    Aug 13th, 2011 (11:32 am)

    Jackson: .In other words, an engine operating more efficiently over a narrower power band leads to more efficiencyin CS-mode; maybe a lot more.

    Jackson,

    Rusty is on a long road trip now in the Volt and he is testing a “pulse and glide” technique on the Volt that basically does what you reference above.

    Pretty interesting, you should check it out:

    http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?8618-Road-trip!

    Hope you are still following!!


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    EVO

     

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    Aug 13th, 2011 (11:55 am)

    Loboc: unless the design is seriously redone for gen-Y, they are still going to be perceived as old-guy cars.

    By design, if you mean put in an advanced tech drive-train that includes e-torque and e-responsiveness, I agree. Who cares how they bend the sheet metal for weight adding body panels, if they even use such archaic materials and techniques.


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    Aug 13th, 2011 (1:07 pm)

    Anybody out there have a one to one comparison on the performance stats of the Volt vs the Converj.?????????

    Does it have a higher output traction motor?? I would assume it does.

    If the current Volt is 110 Kw traction motor then the batteries are running at 6.87 C rate. Pretty wimpy C rate but not for nanos.


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    Aug 13th, 2011 (3:41 pm)

    George S. Bower: Jackson,

    Rusty is on a long road trip now in the Volt and he is testing a “pulse and glide” technique on the Volt that basically does what you reference above.

    Pretty interesting, you should check it out:

    http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?8618-Road-trip!

    Hope you are still following!!

    I’ve read the first 2 pages of the thread, including his explanation of the “P&G gaming MM” method.

    Yes, the longer-cycle / stronger serial mode Volt would keep a larger buffer during normal driving, as Rusty is attempting to do. However, if he is successful, I expect he is actually forcing the Volt to use more pack cycles to achieve a rather coarse version of my scenario. If so, he may be shortening it’s life.

    What I am proposing is that using a more resilient pack and smaller generator allows a future Volt to behave pretty much as the current model does now; but transparently to the driver. With more cycle lives in the pack to begin with, this scenario can afford to use more of them to achieve greater efficiency without harm (I call it a “stronger” serial mode, because this future Volt would spend more time in a situation where the engine and batteries supply all load, with no direct engine-to-wheel propulsion).

    Keep in mind too that a smaller engine leads to a mounting spiral of benefits; smaller engine equaling less overall weight to carry; operating over a narrower power band leading to more efficient tuning over that band; better efficiency overall leading to a smaller gas tank and less weight, etc. Rusty can’t simulate this.

    It is still an interesting experiment.


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    Aug 13th, 2011 (4:06 pm)

    George S. Bower: Does it have a higher output traction motor?? I would assume it does.
    If the current Volt is 110 Kw traction motor then the batteries are running at 6.87 C rate. Pretty wimpy C rate but not for nanos.

    No real issue on the motor side. Motors can run at 3X – 4X their rated HP for short periods and they have two of them which could be coupled. So the issue is the battery.

    On the battery side they could use cells with a higher energy/volume ratio by tweaking the materials, or, based on testing experience they might be comfortable with a higher C rate, or some combination. The battery in the Volt is probably what they had in 2008 so it’s quite possible there may be some improvements they’re comfortable using.


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    Aug 13th, 2011 (4:11 pm)

    Jackson: , I expect he is actually forcing the Volt to use more pack cycles to achieve a rather coarse version of my scenario.If so, he may be shortening it’s life.

    I was going to mention that but he probably already knows and it would have spoiled the mood of the thread.

    I’m not sure I agree w/you on all points but I do in general. I might disagree w/ a smaller ICE w/ a more finely tuned operating point. Seems like an engine w/ larger SFC islands would be better. Also, in the case of running totally out of battery the car would be even more sluggish and this might ruin the seemlessness of the experience….then again if your using the ICE to keep the pack to a higher state of charge maybe what I said is wrong.

    ….one of GM’s engineers would have to figure this all out on the off design Voltec computer model.

    This is a very exciting time for the Volt once again w/ the 1.5 Converj and the A123 batteries in the picture. Almost as good as “the good old days”.


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    Aug 13th, 2011 (4:23 pm)

    Jackson: What I am proposing is that using a more resilient pack and smaller generator allows a future Volt to behave pretty much as the current model does now; but transparently to the driver.

    Double the energy and power density of the battery and you get more range and more performance without any changes to the engine. Other than the fact the engine takes up a lot of space I think it’s fine the way it is. It’s about the last thing I’d bother with at this point.


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    Aug 13th, 2011 (4:25 pm)

    George S. Bower: I was going to mention that but he probably already knows and it would have spoiled the mood of the thread.

    I’m not sure I agree w/you on all points but I do in general. I might disagree w/ a smaller ICE w/ a more finely tuned operating point. Seems like an engine w/ larger SFC islands would be better. Also, in the case of running totally out of battery the car would be even more sluggish and this might ruin the seemlessness of the experience….then again if your using the ICE to keep the pack to a higher state of charge maybe what I said is wrong.

    ….one of GM’s engineers would have to figure this all out on the off design Voltec computer model.

    This is a very exciting time for the Volt once again w/ the 1.5 Converj and the A123 batteries in the picture. Almost as good as “the good old days”.

    Oops, too late. I just made a mildly wet-blanket post over there. Then again, the thread was six pages long, so it likely won’t have much negative effect. :-)

    On the other hand, people reading the thread likely don’t realize that this method increases pack wear, so someone probably needed to point it out.

    “Using the ICE to keep the pack to a higher state of charge” is kind of the point. Keep in mind that in normal driving one is unlikely to reach an exhaustion point with a smaller engine. You’d spike the load coming up to speed, use less power maintaining that speed, and stop again; recovering some power. You maintain an average power requirement with a larger pack buffer (or, perhaps a separate pack as I suggested at #88). A smaller* engine would have more than enough time to ‘catch up’ with the initial spike. Also, the future Volt I envision would have a Mountain Mode as well.

    I really think that the benefits of a smaller, lighter engine warrant serious investigation by GM once battery cycle life allows (this may be A123, or something else).

    * smaller doesn’t necessarily mean a chainsaw mill, just smaller :-) . It might even be a lower displacement 4, but more likely a 3 or 2 (and there’s an outside chance of something like a mini-turbine, if it’s speed can be kept constant over long periods).


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    Aug 13th, 2011 (4:53 pm)

    DonC: Double the energy and power density of the battery and you get more range and more performance without any changes to the engine. Other than the fact the engine takes up a lot of space I think it’s fine the way it is. It’s about the last thing I’d bother with at this point.

    Before GM clammed up about future Volt development, there was an article (back in Lyle times) which indicated they were looking into designed-for-EREV engines. The Volt’s present engine was most likely used only because it was already in production.

    There is plenty of cause to look at engine design, and it’s likely that GM is already doing so. It is battery longevity which determines engine size, and if there is an improvement in this area, I feel confident that the for-EREV engine will be smaller.

    That’s not to say that the old 4 wouldn’t be retained for larger EREVs, in the near term at least.


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    Aug 13th, 2011 (6:07 pm)

    Jackson:
    smaller doesn’t necessarily mean a chainsaw mill, just smaller .It might even be a lower displacement 4, but more likely a 3 or 2 (and there’s an outside chance of something like a mini-turbine, if it’s speed can be kept constant over long periods).

    Jackson,

    I was in small gas turbines my entire career. I ran the off design computer models, designed, built em and tested them. It is my humble conclusion that barring that elusive “cheap high T4 ceramic engine that has been “just around the corner” for the last 40 years” we can forget about the gas turbine. I know: what about Capstone and their electric bus??? The cycle efficiency is bad…..but who knows maybe someday it will happen and if so then that’s great. After all it is my Alma Mater.

    If you mean small high speed Wankel then maybe I can go along. but more like it would be the 3 cyl tubo unit that the Volt was supposed to have in the first place.

    I have a tendency to agree w/ Don C that better batteries are the primary focus,,but like you say, better batteries could mean a smaller less expensive RE also.


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    Eco_Turbo

     

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    Aug 13th, 2011 (6:12 pm)

    It is so interesting to hear the engineering types explain this relationship between battery type and performance. Now I know that soon there may be an electric car that can seriously embarrass a muscle car for a block or two, and then recover over the next few miles! Maybe that can be done now with capacitors?


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    Jackson

     

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    Aug 13th, 2011 (7:26 pm)

    George S. Bower: I was in small gas turbines my entire career. I ran the off design computer models, designed, built em and tested them. It is my humble conclusion that barring that elusive “cheap high T4 ceramic engine that has been “just around the corner” for the last 40 years” we can forget about the gas turbine.

    Sadly, you are no doubt correct. Then again, “batteries good enough for a practical EV” were “ten years away” for over half a century. ;-)

    I know: what about Capstone and their electric bus??? The cycle efficiency is bad…..but who knows maybe someday it will happen and if so then that’s great. After all it is my Alma Mater.

    Can I tap into your experience?

    I recall reading years ago about thermal regeneration to increase the efficiency of a small turbine (using a slow-turning ceramic wheel with holes in it: half of it sat in the hot exhaust stream and half in the intake stream, the heat retained from the hot side would have increased the intake temperature — I wondered at the time how the ceramic material would resist shattering)? Whatever happened to the idea?

    The ceramic turbine parts themselves were said to be more malleable at higher temps, the trick being to keep them from shattering until the engine warmed up. Is this “T4 ceramic turbine” the current state of that art? I haven’t really heard anything new on the subject for around 30 years.


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    Aug 13th, 2011 (7:44 pm)

    Eco_Turbo: It is so interesting to hear the engineering types explain this relationship between battery type and performance. Now I know that soon there may be an electric car that can seriously embarrass a muscle car for a block or two, and then recover over the next few miles! Maybe that can be done now with capacitors?

    Ultra caps are expensive and bulky at the moment. Maybe EEStor? (Just kidding, don’t throw anything ;-) ).

    There is also the problem that capacitors operate at thousands of volts, and EV packs at hundreds. I wouldn’t say it’s an impossible problem to solve, just potentially a very, very expensive one. With extensive battery development already showing fruit, it likely won’t be necessary.


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    Aug 13th, 2011 (9:04 pm)

    Jackson: Sadly, you are no doubt correct.Then again, “batteries good enough for a practical EV” were “ten years away” for over half a century.

    Can I tap into your experience?

    I recall reading years ago about thermal regeneration to increase the efficiency of a small turbine (using a slow-turning ceramic wheel with holes in it:half of it sat in the hot exhaust stream and half in the intake stream, the heat retained from the hot side would have increased the intake temperature — I wondered at the time how the ceramic material would resist shattering)?Whatever happened to the idea?

    I know the Ford GT that they were putting in the Thunderbird used these rotating ceramic discs for RECUPERATORS. They had lots of problems w/ them because of high leakage rates. We (Garrett APD) went to plate fin heat exchangers (INCOnel material) for the Recuperators and we ran pretty good t4′s for the time (almost 2000 deg f). So we could get almost .393 lb/hphr SFC which is around the cycle eta of the Prius ICE at a much higher cost.

    The Gt601 was the most advanced engine that we ever buult. It had VTN’s AND recuperators so it got great part load sfc…ie it held T4 at part load which most GT’s don’t do..


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    Aug 13th, 2011 (9:47 pm)

    PS I think Capstone is using tube heat exchangers which are not as efficient as plate fin.


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    Aug 13th, 2011 (9:50 pm)

    and no one is using the rotating ceramic disc style as in the first auto application that Ford and Chrysler did.


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    Aug 13th, 2011 (10:58 pm)

    George S. Bower,

    Thanks for all that good info. If someone can duplicate Garrett’s engine in cheaper materials (not holding my breath), perhaps we can look forward to a Volt which can knock the PiP on it’s tail.

    So, um … what does T4 mean?

    … not an engineer, don’t even play one on TV …


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    Ted in Fort Myers

     

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    Aug 14th, 2011 (6:07 am)

    GM,
    Performance of the current Volt is good enough. They/You need to get rid of the creep mode which needlessly uses battery when stopped at a traffic light and increase the pack capacity to increase range all-electric maybe another 7 or 8 KWH without increasing the cost. What will sell Volts in the future is increased range or decreased price or both. Also the running lights on all the time can go as well. We need options to extend range. I do hate having to shift to neutral at each light to conserve battery but I do it. Another level of regen (higher) when first touching the brake would also help if the pack can handle it. I already run in low all the time as it is.

    Take Care, TED Volt #1506


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    pjkPA

     

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    Aug 14th, 2011 (9:33 am)

    Raymondjram: Tell that to Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Jaguar, Porsche, and other sports vehicle manufacturers. Some are designing and building electric and hybrid sports cars just for those who have the money (and don’t care about the age). GM can fulfill the American needs with the Cadillac line, but as long as someone promotes them, luxury cars will sell everywhere, even if gas goes to $100 a gallon.If GM can produce a world class Cadillac EREV or EV and offer it for less than $80,000 to undersell the imports, then GM will lead that market.Raymond

    I like this common sense talk… we need more of it.

    I would add that on top of offering a car for less than $80K .. we should level the playing field and then see who is the “market leader”.


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    Eco_Turbo

     

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    Aug 14th, 2011 (9:35 am)

    I wonder what happened to the Whisper? I think it’s from 2009 or so.

    http://www.lpengines.com/news_detail.php?id=10


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    EVO

     

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    Aug 14th, 2011 (9:41 am)

    Ted in Fort Myers: get rid of the creep mode

    Just have it be one more mode, I’d say to GM, perhaps the default. Most irksome vehicle behavior can be solved with software, especially if the vehicle has e-drive. I agree that the current default is certainly NOT my primary preference. I tend to alternate between occasionally embarrassing muscle vehicles to ekeing out efficiency without holding up traffic most of the rest of the time. The net effect is about 80-90% of maximum efficiency. If I have a big chunk of range and know I’ll be topping off soon and doing things other than using the vehicle, I’m more likely to hoon it up. That’s a happy consequence of choosing well where I live and work and how I run my errands and travel. Vehicles with e-drive will finish the job that interstates started 60 years, but at a tiny fraction of the cost..


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    EVO

     

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    Aug 14th, 2011 (10:04 am)

    I love when full gasser vehicles next to me at lights creep ahead of even, then creep ahead again, then again, then over-rev their engine, trying to act and sound all tough, all while I’m completely motionless and quiet at ZERO rpm next to them. They eat my dust when the light finally turns green. While I very much appreciate ICEs (well, turbo (bio)diesels, anyway) role in range extending and using high energy content liquid fuels at sustained aerodynamic high penalty high speeds, riding electric has made me EXTREMELY aware of their absolute, glaring deficiencies, especially below the middle of third gear. My ideal car would probably be a mashup of a Volt and an 8 speed DSG TDI diesel Sportwagen, under 50k. Soon?


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    George S. Bower

     

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    Aug 14th, 2011 (10:31 am)

    Jackson: George S. Bower,

    Thanks for all that good info.If someone can duplicate Garrett’s engine in cheaper materials (not holding my breath), perhaps we can look forward to a Volt which can knock the PiP on it’s tail.

    So, um … what does T4 mean?

    … not an engineer, don’t even play one on TV …

    Turbine inlet temperature. The hotter they run, the higher the cycle efficiency. GE is running around 2700 deg f now.


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    George S. Bower

     

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    Aug 14th, 2011 (10:42 am)

    Ted in Fort Myers: GM, increase the pack capacity to increase range all-electric maybe another 7 or 8 KWH without increasing the cost.

    Take Care, TED Volt #1506

    I would like to see more range also. However I think what GM will do is, with their improved pack, hold the 40 mile EV range and decrease the pack size. More cycle life will allow them to do this—–they won’t have to oversize the pack X2 anymore. This will give them the profit margin they need. I don’t think we will see a 40 mile AER Volt at a lower price than it is right now. The only way would be if they offer a lower range AER version (which I would not be interested in).


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    john1701a

     

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    Aug 14th, 2011 (12:23 pm)

    George S. Bower: I don’t think we will see a 40 mile AER Volt at a lower price than it is right now. The only way would be if they offer a lower range AER version (which I would not be interested in).

    Not interested for what reason?

    It’s better to ask, rather than just assume it’s the current engine efficiency & emissions.


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    Aug 14th, 2011 (1:26 pm)

    john1701a: Not interested for what reason?

    It’s better to ask, rather than just assume it’s the current engine efficiency & emissions.

    It’s my long commute. Normally around 76 miles round trip w/ no charge point at the end of the first leg.


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    kdawg

     

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    Aug 14th, 2011 (3:26 pm)

    Ted in Fort Myers: They/You need to get rid of the creep mode which needlessly uses battery when stopped at a traffic light

    what’s creep mode


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    nasaman

     

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    Aug 14th, 2011 (5:04 pm)

    kdawg: Ted in Fort Myers: They/You need to get rid of the creep mode which needlessly uses battery when stopped at a traffic light

    what’s creep mode

    “Creep mode” is what virtually all vehicles with automatic transmissions have today to minimize the chance a vehicle stopped at a stoplight or stop sign on a rearward incline might roll back into the vehicle behind it if they release the brakes or shift into neutral while waiting.

    Frankly, with untold millions of drivers accustomed to this deliberate tendency to roll forward after releasing the brakes, I believe it’s likely many drivers would find it hard to adjust to NOT having this “creep”. Therefore, IMHO it would be best to simply include a “creep disable” switch on all Volts allowing drivers to choose.


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    kdawg

     

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    Aug 14th, 2011 (6:18 pm)

    nasaman,

    seems like the software would recognize the brake is pushed, and the vehicle speed sensor would see it is stopped, and not try to drive the traction moter. If the car sensed itself rolling backwards, it could engage the the traction motor (think Segway). The holding torque on the motor should not use that much current, but if the brake is doing the job, yeah , it should be turned off.


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    Herm

     

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    Aug 14th, 2011 (7:08 pm)

    Hey I’m back.. glad to see the board is still active..

    Did everyone miss the $400 kwh battery cost?.. LiFePO4 is an inherently low cost chemistry, and what BYD will use in the upcoming E6. They are making promises to sell this long range BEV in the US within a year.

    Perhaps GM could use it in the Volt but they may end up with a heavier pack since it has less energy density than the LG cells.. perhaps they can make do by getting rid of the liquid cooling and decreasing the SOC margin that GM is using now. Volt has a 65% SOC margin, perhaps with A123 they can go to 80% and retain the 10 year 150k mile life. GM has to lower the cost of the Volt to increase profits thus is very possible they may use the A123 cells.

    1. Simplified temperature control system.
    2. Keep less battery capacity in reserve for long life.

    The high C rates possible suggest better hybrid applications than the mild eAssist, perhaps GM is planning on a stronger hybrid offering.

    BEV applications are also possible due to the low cost and simpler temperature controls needed, with perhaps better battery life than the Leaf will achieve in the Phoenix heat. GM will have to offer a low cost BEV to compete with Ford and Nissan.. Yes I know the Volt is a BEV part of the time but I mean a lower cost, longer range BEV.


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    kdawg

     

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    Aug 14th, 2011 (7:47 pm)

    Herm: They are making promises to sell this long range BEV in the US within a year.

    They’ve been saying this for years now. Again, I’ll believe it when I see it.


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    jeffhre

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    Aug 14th, 2011 (8:22 pm)

    DonC: Double the energy and power density of the battery and you get more range and more performance without any changes to the engine. Other than the fact the engine takes up a lot of space I think it’s fine the way it is. It’s about the last thing I’d bother with at this point.

    Yes the density of the battery cells is critical for size weight and price of the powertrain/battery pack. Regarding saving weight in the engine, a smaller engine allows use of a smaller lighter suspension, and requires less steel to reinforce the chassis.


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    Aug 14th, 2011 (8:28 pm)

    john1701a: Not interested for what reason?

    It’s better to ask, rather than just assume it’s the current engine efficiency & emissions.

    John,
    You made me do a 1 to 1 on the Volt vs PiP as far as MPG and MPGe goes..

    It is basically my driving cycle I described that was 76 miles round trip with no recharge at the halfway turnaround.

    Here are the results:

    Volt:
    118 MPG
    64 MPGe

    Pip:
    57 MPH
    52 MPGe

    There are some pure electric miles thrown in there from another small route.

    So from an energy POV it is hands down VOLT for my driving cycle!!!!

    The whole idea is to get as many miles as you can in EV mode and that is why the piP does not cut it.

    PS I still love my Prius. I think I will keep both of them.

    GSB


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    Aug 14th, 2011 (8:34 pm)

    Oh and I still want an old Honda Model Insight….
    now that is a collectors item for sure.

    The last model year in Red.


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    George S. Bower

     

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    Aug 14th, 2011 (8:41 pm)

    Herm,

    Herm,
    I knew you would be thrilled by the fact that the Fe’s are happening.for all the reasons you stated. So glad to have your Insight back in the discussion.

    GSB


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    George S. Bower

     

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    Aug 14th, 2011 (8:57 pm)

    Herm:
    perhaps they can make do by decreasing the SOC margin that GM is using now. Volt has a 65% SOC margin, perhaps with A123 they can go to 80% and retain the 10 year 150k mile life. GM has to lower the cost of the Volt to increase profits thus is very possible they may use the A123 cells.

    so just based on cycles they could lop off 15% of the battery cost.
    Not sure you would eliminate the battery cooling though except maybe in the e assist.


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    Roy_H

     

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    Aug 14th, 2011 (9:48 pm)

    Thought I’d chime in with all this talk about alternate generators. The wave disk motor developed by Michigan State University looks pretty promising to me. http://dvice.com/archives/2011/03/shock-wave-engi.php
    Dramatic fuel savings, small size, simple and cheap to build, and ideal for series EREVs.


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    kdawg

     

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    Aug 14th, 2011 (11:50 pm)

    Roy_H,

    that video was produced in 2009. I wonder where they are at now.


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    DonC

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    Aug 15th, 2011 (12:10 am)

    EVO: My ideal car would probably be a mashup of a Volt and an 8 speed DSG TDI diesel Sportwagen, under 50k. Soon?

    How about 750 NM from a 100 kW motor? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6m_iIbX0gmA

    Double the energy density of the pack, put one motor in the front and one in the back, and you’d have a mind blowing 1500 NM of torque. Good luck finding any car on the street that could keep up with that.


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    DonC

     

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    Aug 15th, 2011 (12:20 am)

    Roy_H: Thought I’d chime in with all this talk about alternate generators. The wave disk motor developed by Michigan State University looks pretty promising to me.

    Very cool. That opens up all kinds of possibilities.


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    john1701a

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    Aug 15th, 2011 (9:15 am)

    George S. Bower: Pip:
    57 MPG
    52 MPGe

    Not sure where you got those estimates from. Here’s the real-mccoy, a long drive I took with only a single recharge…

    Prius_PHV_Consumption_LongDrive_01.jpg

    The reason for the question is ultimately wanting to if the smaller battery-pack currently being tested for Two-Mode would be acceptable in a Volt.


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    George S. Bower

     

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    Aug 15th, 2011 (11:11 am)

    john1701a:

    The reason for the question is ultimately wanting to if the smaller battery-pack currently being tested for Two-Mode would be acceptable in a Volt.

    John,
    What is this smaller battery pack 2 mode you are talking about?? Do you have a link??


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    john1701a

     

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    Aug 15th, 2011 (2:27 pm)

    George S. Bower: What is this smaller battery pack 2 mode you are talking about?? Do you have a link??

    It was reported here on this website. The pack was 8 kWh, half what’s currently in Volt.