Apr 24

Replacing my Chevy Volt Battery in 2020

 

By Mike Witteman

I sure hope my Chevy Volt battery lasts for years and years. I keep my cars for a long time — my 2012 Chevy Volt replaced a 20-year-old Toyota Camry with 175,000 miles.

How long will the battery last? GM performed simulations that led them to conclude the battery will last many years past the 8-year warranty period. My old Camry lasted more than a decade after all its warranties expired, so hopefully my Volt and battery will last far beyond my 8-yr warranty period.

Volt Battery

Given the Volt only uses about 10 kWh of the battery’s 16 kWh capacity, it is conservatively designed to last a long time. We know from the Toyota Prius design, which only uses 50% of its battery’s capacity, that using only part of the battery’s capacity allows it to last a lot longer. Given the Toyota experience, the Volt battery should last for many years. Additionally, I imagine GM may “unlock” more of the battery capacity with a future software update, enabling the Volt to keep the same driving range over time by using more of the battery.

For this exercise, lets assume I want to replace the Chevy Volt battery in 8 years (the length of the warranty). Since I purchased my Volt in 2012, that means it will be 2020 when I’m in the market for a replacement battery pack.

What will batteries be like in 2020? Globally, there are billions of investment dollars racing to invent the best car battery. What will the range, cost, size, and charge time be in 2020? To simply, I limited myself to four scenarios. I can come up with many more, but four is a nice number.

The first scenario is, in 2020, I purchase some type of improved Lithium-Ion based battery. The technology is essentially the same, but improved on a linear scale from now until 2020. We’ll call this scenario: Linear Lithium-Ion.

The second scenario is all this investment results in a true battery breakthrough, like the Aluminum-air battery. A company named Phinergy mounted such a battery in a subcompact demonstration car that provided 1,000 miles of range. It should be noted the battery does require refills of distilled water every 200 miles. But that would be much cheaper than gas! Without the pollution too! As more evidence of this scenario, Tesla submitted a patent to use a similar battery. We’ll call this scenario: Aluminum-air Breakthrough.

The third scenario is based on what Steven Chu, the former US Secretary of Energy, predicted. We will use his predictions from a speech at the Detroit Economic Club. We’ll call this scenario: Steven Chu’s Prediction.

The four scenario is based on a what the startup Envia Systems claims it will produce soon. I picked them because they have 3rd party tests demonstrating their claims.

For each scenario, I focus on 2 key factors:
1.             The range of the battery, based on its energy density.
2.             The cost of the replacement battery pack.
By 2020, we will definitely see improvement. The central question is: how much improvement will we see? Let’s get to the scenarios.

Scenario #1 — Linear Lithium-Ion

Many industry experts estimate that Lithium-Ion battery improvements will continue at the current pace. That pace is about a 7% improvement per year in energy density. We’ve seen this play out with small improvements in the 2013 Chevy Volt battery (going from EPA range ratings from 35 miles 38 miles). The Nissan Leaf Lithium-Ion battery also had a similar growth in range. According to Wikipedia, today’s Volt has a 16 KW-hr battery that weighs 435 lbs (197 kg). So the pack-level energy density is currently:

16,000 wHrs
——————     =     81.2 wH/kg
   197 kg

Taking the 81.2 wH/kg figure and improving it 7% per year, you get 140 wH/kg in 2020. With a Volt you can drive 40 miles (I usually get around 40 in real-world driving) with 81.2 wH/kg so, with all else being equal, you should be able to go about 69 miles in 2020. Using the equation:

x miles              140 wH/kg

————    =    —————–
40 miles            81.2 wH/kg
Solving for x, you get 69 miles.
How much will the pack cost? Again, there are so many predictions out there. An article in AutoBlogGreen has GM stating the pack costs between $8000 and $9,500. I’m going to use $9,000 for a good round number. At $9,000, the battery pack has a cost of $563 per kWh ($9,000/16 kWh). The article above states GM “hopes” to hit a cost of $300 per kWh by 2015. That is quite aggressive. I’m being less aggressive and assuming that the battery pack cost goes down 5% per year, which will get to an energy density of $374 per kWh in 2020.
With these calculations, if you buy a 16 kWh battery pack, it will cost you $5,984 in 2020 (16 kWh x $374/kWh). If you select a battery with the Volt’s 40 miles per charge, the battery pack will cost you $3,520.
The bottom line of scenario one is 69 miles per charge for $5,984 and 40 miles per charge for $3,520.

Scenario #2 — Aluminum-air Breakthrough

In my previous analysis of the future of Chevy Volt battery options, I used the IBM announcements around a new Lithium-air battery. According to an article in the New ScientistIBM thinks it has a solution with a promising new lithium-air (Li-air) battery. According to the technology giant, a typical Li-air battery cell has a theoretical energy density more than 1,000 times greater than today’s industry-standard Li-ion battery cell. Even better, Li-air batteries are one-fifth the size and they offer a lifespan at least five times as long.
For this version of the analysis, I believe a more likely possibility is an Aluminum-air breakthrough. The demonstration by Phinergy feels compelling. They showed 1,000 miles of range in a demonstration car — however it needs distilled water every 200 miles. The Phinergy CEO, Aviv Tzidon, told Bloomberg TV that they signed a contract with a global automaker to deliver the battery in production volumes, starting in 2017. So if they stay on schedule, it will be ready by 2020.
This is the kind of breakthrough everyone is hoping for to enable the electrification of mainstream vehicles, and therefore, reduce global warming pollution plus reduce the US dependency on foreign oil. So what does this mean for our exercise? Phinergy demonstrated 1,000 miles of range, so we will go with that for range.
I have no information on the potential cost of this battery. I don’t know what to do here. So I will leave it with question marks in the summary table below.

Scenario #3 — Steven Chu’s Prediction

Chu, in a speech at the Detroit Economic Club, said that a plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle battery that can provide 40 miles of all-electric range will cost $3,600 in 2015, down from $12,000 in 2008. “That battery’s cost will fall to just $1,500 by the end of the decade,” Chu added. “The advanced battery competition is a race the United States can and should win,” said Chu.
So this means for $1,500 I can replace my Chevy Volt battery pack and go 40 miles per charge. It cost me more than $1,500 to pay for a tune-up and other maintenance after 8 years in an ICE car.

Scenario #4 — Envia Systems

Envia Systems is a startup claiming to have a 400 Wh/kg battery in the works. I find their battery quite interesting because GM Ventures, the investment arm of GM, invested in them. Plus Envia has put their prototype to the test at a 3rd party lab, under the sponsorship of ARPA-E, and published the results. Envia claims “When commercialized, this 400 Wh/kg battery is expected to slash the price of a 300-mile range electric vehicle by cutting the cost of the battery pack by more than 50%.”
For this analysis, the Envia battery weighs in at 300 miles of electrical range and we’ll say it costs 50% less than the current $9,000 Chevy Volt battery.

Summing it all up

A summary of all scenarios is in the table below. The breakthrough scenario looks quite compelling. I hope it comes to fruition! The Steven Chu prediction looks quite exciting too, so does the Envia Systems solution. The only one that looks expensive is the linear progression. Only time will tell what the future holds.
In this analysis, I did not account for the cost to install a new battery pack. But that may be more than offset with how much the old battery could be sold for on the open market. There is talk about using it for Energy Grid Storage. Sorry to complicate things here at the end. Let’s get back to the summary below:
Scenario                        Pack Cost       Miles/charge   $/Mile
#1 Linear Li-Ion              $5,984                     69           $86.7
#1 Linear Li-Ion              $3,520                     40           $88.0
#2 Aluminum-air             $??                      1,000          $??
#3 Chu’s Prediction        $1,500                     40           $37.5
#4 Envia Systems          $4,500                    300          $15.0
Thanks for sticking with me through these estimates. I don’t know what to budget for my replacement battery pack. Maybe I can hold out until the breakthrough battery comes with 1,000 miles of range on a single charge. Then I could remove my ICE generator and cut down the Volts weight. Why would I need a generator if the car can go 1,000 miles on a single charge?
Let’s check back with each other in 2020 and see how this all turns out.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 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: 65


  1. 1
    Loboc

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (6:46 am)

    Interesting line of thinking. I’m looking at the most likely which is incremental as opposed to breakthrough changes. It is unlikely that something in the lab today will be in production in only 6 years.

    Practically speaking, I am unlikely to put over $3k into a 10-year-old car. I tend to trade rather than keep long term drivers. Usually, I look for a clean 3-year-old and drive the wheels off for 3-years or so. Rinse, repeat.

    Broke my pattern slightly by leasing my Volt this time. There are some advantages to a new car every three years!


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    GSP

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (7:01 am)

    Nice article.

    One comment on costs. The cost numbers that Steven Chu and others talk about is the cost automakers pay to buy large quantities. The suggested retail price for typical OEM replacement parts can be twice, or even four times as much.

    However, high voltage batteries are an exception. GM has announced retail prices for replacement Volt batteries and other expensive components, like the inverter. I think the battery was only $3000, but you did have to turn in your old one to get it, since the price is well below their cost. The other parts were also affordably priced.

    GSP


  3. 3
    Mark Z

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (7:31 am)

    Jeff, thanks for the information on Tesla’s patent. Having an extended range battery is a brilliant idea for the cross country adventure. Certainly would help when driving far from the SuperCharger highways or on days when more range is needed.

    Needing distilled water every 200 miles brings up the question of how much would be stored for a 1000 mile drive? Would the weight of the water make stopping and refilling a better option? After the first 1000 miles, what does it require to make the battery capable of additional usage?

    The link to the Phinergy test article is a trip. A very long trip if you scan the QR code at the end of the video and view the entire 5 hour test run!


  4. 4
    Ziv

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (7:48 am)

    GSP, you are right about the battery being less than $3,000, though you might need to buy other, ancillary parts at the same time. And you have to trade your original, damaged battery to get that price so GM will be using refurb components directly or indirectly to get to that price in all likelihood.
    Jeff, do you think that the link below is legit? How does the MSRP of $2994 compare to what you think the true cost to build a new battery pack costs GM?
    Back in 2009 Patil stated that the pack price (with management system) was around $625 per kWh at that time, down from $1000. If I had to guess, I would say that the current pack price per kWh including management system is around $400. So a 16.5 kWh pack costs $6600. But if you destroy your battery, how much of the pack management system would have to be replaced at the same time? All of it? Half of it? I don’t know. Perhaps some of the parts won’t need to be replaced, like part #7 in the exploded drawing, the control module. If you could save $1454 by not replacing the control module, your pack replacement price might come down, because I have to think that it is part of the pack price when they talk about the “battery pack”.
    I am of the opinion that theory 1 is the most likely by 2020. I have been posting on this site since February of 2007, and in 6 years the progress has been steady but not rapid. I originally thought that there would be a breakthrough or breakthroughs on price and density by 2017/2018 but I just don’t see it happening that fast any longer. But being able to buy a 40 mile pack for $3000 now, seems to indicate that we would be able to do better in 7 years.
    Sorry if this post seems disjointed, I was trying to talk about a couple different things at the same time, like battery price vs. pack price.

    http://www.newgmparts.com/parts/2011/CHEVROLET/VOLT/?siteid=213815&vehicleid=1447713&section=HYBRID%20COMPONENTS&group=HYBRID%20COMPONENTS&subgroup=BATTERY&component=BATTERY


  5. 5
    Rich Remund

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (7:55 am)

    It looks like the aluminum air battery needs the aluminum plates replaced every 1000 miles, which at the current material cost of raw aluminum give the battery a recharging cost of 90 MPGe


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    Roy_H

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (8:00 am)

    The fuel in the aluminum-air battery is the aluminum. The aluminum plates have to be replaced every 1000 miles. This is very attractive as aluminum is cheap, and the oxidized aluminum is actually valuable as a product and is not worth refining back to pure aluminum. Attractive as it is, there will be some cost associated with replacing the aluminum every 1000 miles.

    There are several very attractive looking break-throughs, but the lithium-air one is not as attractive as indicated. The improvement is 10x not 1000x and it is likely that the packaging and associated pumps, tanks, and/or filters will increase size weight and cost. These extra items are never discussed in this magical battery.

    Lithium-sulfur has some problems still to be solved, but that is where I think the biggest gain will be. There are several variations of silicon anodes that are about 10x better than current designs, but they await a matching 10x better cathode to realize their full potential. In the meantime this superior anode can be used with a slightly improved cathode to get 3x improvement. I like Clemson University’s version best with its low cost. See http://www.greencarcongress.com/2011/09/alginate-20110909.html?cid=6a00d8341c4fbe53ef015391772940970b

    So a minimum of 3x improvement is almost guaranteed.


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    Bobc

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (8:03 am)

    Keep in mind that any scenario that includes removing the motor generator will necessitate whole sale suspension changes probably costing a few thousand dollars by itself. One item neglected here is the development of graphene super capacitors which could work in parallel with future batteries. This development could increase charge speed efficiency and the efficiency of regenerative braking also improving AER. Another advantage of the graphene super capacitor is packaging in addition to not needing as sophisticated thermal management system. These units could be integrated into the flow panels.


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    kdawg

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (8:22 am)

    You forgot a 5th scenario where GM just replaces the electrolyte. They have a patent for this, but i’m not sure if it applies to the 2012 Volt design.

    Also, I don’t know if it will be cheaper for GM to replace the whole pack or to swap individual cells out. People have already had their Volt battery packs replaced, but being that they were under warranty, I don’t think we know the costs.

    A possible 6th scenario is GM adopting the battery leasing business model that we are starting to see now.


  9. 9
    Mark Brooks

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (8:28 am)

    Nicely written. Taking an economist point of view, everything will depend on scale. The more volts and other Plug in cars on the road, the larger the scale, then the lower the cost will be for any battery replacement. This is why tax incentives are so important in kick starting the plug in car industry. Even with today’s teck, All you really have to do to drop the cost of the volts battery pack is to produce 300,000 a year, instead of 30,000. By 2020, assuming the current tax incentives remain in place, that is what we will have.


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    Raymondjram

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (9:00 am)

    Loboc:
    Practically speaking, I am unlikely to put over $3k into a 10-year-old car. I tend to trade rather than keep long term drivers. Usually, I look for a clean 3-year-old and drive the wheels off for 3-years or so. Rinse, repeat.

    Broke my pattern slightly by leasing my Volt this time. There are some advantages to a new car every three years!

    There are certain advantages in leasing for three years. The obvious one is the changes in technology, as with the Chevy Volt. So many new Volt owners lease instead of purchasing, and expect to get the newer technology after the lease expires.

    Second, a lease is better if your employer pays for it. You put no money from your pocket, while every expense is covered by the employment benefits.

    Third, no everyone can use the full $7,500.00 Federal tax credit when buying a Volt. Many don’t pay enough in taxes, so part of the credit is lost. But leasing allows the full credit to the lessor and the Volt owner pays less. In my case, I don’t pay Federal taxes, so I could lease and use that path.

    So if GM sells me a Volt, I might go for a lease. But I cannot get one locally. So I out of this game for now. Meanwhile I keep my purchased GM vehicles for at least 15 years, saving on maintenance, and reducing my TCO every year. My best vehicle was a 1984 Olds Ciera which I bought for $9,000 and used for 26 years ($350 per year). If I did the same with a $40,000 Volt, I would keep it for 114 years!

    Raymond


  11. 11
    Jackson

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (9:01 am)

    When you consider that electricity is used to create aluminum metal in the first place (any that you see is basically precipitated battery-plate material re-formed into usable objects), the aluminum-air battery is essentially an externally charged one. In a sense, aluminum is an energy carrier in much the same way that hydrogen is: It takes energy to make, and you get the energy back as it is used; but unlike hydrogen, it’s relatively easy to deal with onboard the car. Remember also that it takes energy to distill the water. When considering the total energy cost, these factors need to be taken into account.

    The need to replace the plates every 1000 miles concerns me. In practice, you would always swap out your pack for a re-manufactured one (with the potentially time-consuming plate replacement already done); somewhat resembling the Project Better Place model with all of it’s disadvantages (Will there be multiple types in stock everywhere? What about aging of non-active pack components, the overall labor costs involved whether manual or automated, etc). There are road trips which often total over 1000 miles in a day or two. This makes availability and time lost real factors. In a retrofit situation like the older Volt, would just anyone be able to supply a re-manufactured, customized pack on short notice?


  12. 12
    Jeff Cobb

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (9:01 am)

    Hi Folks – My apologies – I neglected to put Mike Witteman’s byline in late last night past the point of tiredness. He has written for us before – http://gm-volt.com/2012/05/17/a-time-to-reflect-on-the-volt-my-first-fill-up/ and I got the e-mail from him late but posted it since it’s directly Volt related.


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    Jackson

     

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (9:23 am)

    The form any EV takes is dependent on the battery technology. By the 2020′s EV design will reflect any of the postulated changes (smaller pack size, greater interior volume, etc). Given the rapid evolution of battery tech, it might be better to consider a new vehicle at that time. If you consider an older Volt as a rolling Classic, you might be motivated to stuff newer batteries into the old battery compartment, likely resulting in a much larger AER; but like any Classic project it will require some expensive customization and might be more expensive than you think. In a Classic car scenario, it would be important to retain the functionality of the range extender for authenticity, and in any case it will likely still be necessary in most long-distance scenarios.


  14. 14
    George S. Bower

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (9:26 am)

    Loboc:

    Broke my pattern slightly by leasing my Volt this time. There are some advantages to a new car every three years!

    Agreed Loboc. Things are happening fast. So many new interesting cars. Personally I wish I had just done a 2 year lease on my Volt. Getting a new battery in my Volt in 2020 is not going to happen. The latest and greatest EV is.

    While I love my Volt, I crave more AER and lower accel times. I think the mini range extender and 80-100 miles AER is where I will be headed next.


  15. 15
    George S. Bower

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (9:27 am)

    PS Mike. Good article. Always like to hear from owner/ authors.


  16. 16
    Loboc

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (9:49 am)

    George S. Bower,

    It was a little chilly in DFW this morning and I forgot to preheat. The heater(s) sucked 7mi AER off the top. Oh well, I’ve only used 2 gal this week instead of 17 with my old car. Most of that was playing around with MM.

    Loving my new ride!


  17. 17
    JeremyK

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (10:16 am)

    Though the technology of Li batteries is likely to make some great improvements in the next 8 years, most of it will not not be backward compatible with the “old” technologies used in the Volt. It won’t be like pulling out your old NiCd flashlight battery and replacing it with a NIMH battery.

    Remember that whatever battery is used in the Volt has to tie into the heating/cooling system (mechanically) and also be (electronically) compatible/controllable with the 2011-?? ECU. Slight changes in battery chemistry can easily be accommodated with a quick software update, but any real improvements will likely come with new and improved ancillary systems and computer controls.

    The Volt battery should still have ~80% of its original capacity at “end of life” which is 8 years or 10 years or whatever. Why not just keep driving the car (for free) for another 5+ years and just drive that original battery “into the ground” rather than replacing a battery that still has 80% capacity?

    There are a lot of other parts that wear out on a car at around the 10 year/150K mile mark. Not sure I would sink money into a new battery when corrosion and wear/tear on bushings, suspension, springs, etc begin to play a major role in cost of ownership.


  18. 18
    VoltPerson

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (10:29 am)

    It’s now 2030, and my 2012 Chevrolet Volt is still running perfectly and the battery is fine, but I gave it to my daughter who loves it as her first car. My much newer 2029 model Chevrolet Volt can go 1500 km all electric on auto-drive, has 7 seats, ample room and can even fly if you like! It of course wirelessly charges, and for a trip out in the country, I can take over and manually drive, which is interesting to do for fun!


  19. 19
    Cyberax

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (11:03 am)

    Aluminium-air batteries are NOT rechargeable, and you can’t really expect that to change (Al-O chemical bond is VERY strong). So aluminium batteries are good as an alternative range extender, not as a battery replacement. I.e. you drive into a “gas” station, replace aluminium plates (probably using some kind of robotic system) and drive another 500 miles, the discarded plates are later collected and recycled.

    Distilled water is actually not consumed in the battery, it acts as a catalyst and is lost due to evaporation.


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    vdiv

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (11:06 am)

    Remember, the usable battery capacity in the Volt is controlled by software, so even if you replace the battery with a higher capacity one the range will still be the same until GM agrees to change the software configuration. As we know GM is not very keen in doing that now, imagine how keen they will be in 8-10 years.

    Some of the last 2012 Volts have the improved 16.5 kWh battery. Can they use 10.8 instead of 10.3 kWh and have a slightly longer AER?


  21. 21
    steve

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (11:25 am)

    All this sort of a assumes the rest of the car is still perfect and not obsolete in some other way. That seems unlikely. The number of 10+ year old cars that replace or rebuild a worn out engine is small compared to the number that just get scrapped.


  22. 22
    Nelson

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (11:36 am)

    Is GM under any obligation to have a Volt v1 replacement battery available in 2025?
    I like your battery scenarios but I feel some are missing. With these new breakthroughs in battery tech will GM keep their T battery configuration? If not, would they even manufacture a replacement battery with the newer tech cells for older Volt? If not, will there be enough old Volts needing battery swaps for a third party to manufacture a Volt v1 T replacement battery with new cell tech?
    Too many future IFs for me.
    I’ll just enjoy the present, driving my Volt and using very little gas.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


  23. 23
    Noel Park

     

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (11:37 am)

    JeremyK: There are a lot of other parts that wear out on a car at around the 10 year/150K mile mark.

    #16

    I dunno, our 2000 S10 has done 270K miles with one clutch replacement and a couple of sets of brake pads. I’m planning on at least 200K out of my Volt. For $48K OTD it had damned well better do it, LOL.


  24. 24
    BLIND GUY

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (11:39 am)

    We decided to buy instead of lease because of our history of putting 30K miles a year on our car. Since we essentially lost some $ trading-in our 010 Prius; we agreed that we would keep our Volt 5-10 years. I do appreciate the ability to take trips in our Volt when we want and usually don’t dip into CS mode very much around town. So in 5-10 yrs. When I will be itching for another vehicle; I am hoping to get a BEV with 200 mile range at an affordable price. So far our Volt has performed beautifully but I do worry if there is a problem, will the complexity of the Volt be a PITA to resolve? In conclusion: I would worry less with a 200 mile maintenance free battery in a relatively less complex BEV and rent a vehicle w/spare tire for trips.


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    Noel Park

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (11:40 am)

    VoltPerson:
    It’s now 2030, and my 2012 Chevrolet Volt is still running perfectly and the battery is fine, but I gave it to my daughter who loves it as her first car. My much newer 2029 model Chevrolet Volt can go 1500 km all electric on auto-drive, has , ample room and can even fly if you like! It of course wirelessly charges, and for a trip out in the country, I can take over and manually drive, which is interesting to do for fun!

    #17

    I may have to trade my 2011 in on one of those after all, LOL. I’ll only be 87 so I’m sure I’ll still be driving. And, if it can drive itself, so much the better.


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    Noel Park

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (11:43 am)

    Nelson: I’ll just enjoy the present, driving my Volt and using very little gas.

    #21

    Yeah, me too. +1

    Although it is fun to speculate, and it doesn’t cost anything, LOL.


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    Noel Park

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (11:46 am)

    steve:
    All this sort of a assumes the rest of the car is still perfect and not obsolete in some other way.That seems unlikely.The number of 10+ year old cars that replace or rebuild a worn out engine is small compared to the number that just get scrapped.

    #20

    Well we’re still actively vintage racing a 1917 Chevrolet, sometimes against even older Models T’s. Not to mention a 1909 Renault last year at Monterey. So there are a few die-hards out here who try to keep them running a little longer, LOL.


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    kdawg

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (11:46 am)

    George S. Bower: Getting a new battery in my Volt in 2020 is not going to happen. The latest and greatest EV is.
    While I love my Volt, I crave more AER and lower accel times. I think the mini range extender and 80-100 miles AER is where I will be headed next.

    I see a new vehicle purchase in my future too around 2020. Depending on what’s offered and the pricing, I may go full BEV. What will a Tesla cost? Will GM’s 200 mile range BEV be available? Worst case, I get a Volt Gen 2/3 or a Caddy ELR. (I won’t buy foreign, so no BMW i-whatever for me).


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (11:58 am)

    Loboc:

    Loving my new ride!

    See even die hard hemi guys like the Volt!


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (12:04 pm)

    Noel Park: #17

    I may have to trade my 2011 in on one of those after all, LOL.I’ll only be 87 so I’m sure I’ll still be driving.And, if it can drive itself, so much the better.

    Well you said you were older but who would have thunk you’d be THAT old LOL……just kidding of course only 6 years older but still racing them ‘Vettes!!

    Go Noel +1


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (12:10 pm)

    Loboc: It was a little chilly in DFW this morning and I forgot to preheat.

    What is a little chilly? Do you charge/preheat at 120V?

    I don’t bother pre-heating anymore in Michigan. It was only when my windows were freezing up that I preheated. If it’s 35+ degrees, I’m good to go.

    I will have to decide at what temps I will want to pre-cool this summer. The mornings will be fine, but in the afternoon we can get in the 90′s in Michigan with 100% humidity. My car will be sitting in a parking lot, so I will have to precondition from battery reserve vs. grid power.


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (12:13 pm)

    kdawg: (I won’t buy foreign, so no BMW i-whatever for me).

    #27

    Amen brother. More power to you. +1


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (12:14 pm)

    VoltPerson: It’s now 2030, and my 2012 Chevrolet Volt is still running perfectly

    How did you survive the zombie apocalypse? ;)


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (12:18 pm)

    George S. Bower: Well you said you were older but who would have thunk you’d be THAT old LOL……just kidding of course only 6 years older but still racing them ‘Vettes!!

    #29

    Well I have banned the use of the “O-word” in my household but , since it’s you, I’ll forgive you this one time, LOL.

    I’ll keep racing them as long as I can con the Dr. into signing the physical form, hahaha. +1 right back atcha! Thanks.


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    pjkPA

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (12:28 pm)

    I’m just going to enjoy my Volt and not worry about what happens 10 years from now.
    4 months no gas stations! No oil changes! no smelly garage!

    Wonder if there is a survey that would show Volt drivers blood pressure before and after owning a Volt? I had to drive my ICE the other day and sure did miss the smooth quiet ride of the Volt…
    I think the Volt is keeping my blood pressure down by being so relaxing to drive.


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (12:36 pm)

    pjkPA: I think the Volt is keeping my blood pressure down by being so relaxing to drive.

    #34

    Another great selling point for Chevy! +1

    Except when “gas anxiety” hits while sweating out trying to go those last couple of miles home without the “range extender” deploying, LOL.


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (1:02 pm)

    Somewhat OT, but we are talking about batteries:

    Chevy announced the Spark EV range: 82 miles

    Today, Chevrolet announced that the 2014 Spark EV will get a combined city/highway EPA-estimated range of 82 miles when fully charged and an EPA-estimated combined city/highway 119 MPGe fuel economy equivalent, making it the leading industry benchmark in electric vehicle efficiency. With the most efficient battery available, drivers will get the lowest possible cost per mile, making the Spark EV the most affordable pure EV for purchase in the United States. That equates to a potential savings for Spark EV owners of up to $9,000 in fuel costs over five years, compared to the average new vehicle.


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (1:35 pm)

    pjkPA: I think the Volt is keeping my blood pressure down

    Noel Park: Except when “gas anxiety” hits

    I think pjkPA has a good point though. I no longer have “gas-price anxiety”. Or maybe it is some kind of buyer’s remorse. You know that feeling when you buy gas, and it goes down 10 cents the next day. Or you decide to wait another day and it goes up 10 cents.

    (disclaimer: even when i drove an ICE car i didn’t care too much about gas prices (but I know many who do!))


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (1:39 pm)

    kdawg,

    LOL :-) Some good comments on my model year 2029 Volt dream. Who knows, may be we really could have that for a personal transportation choice in 2029. If anyone could do it, I think GM/Chevrolet could.


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    bitguru

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (1:53 pm)

    None of those alternative batteries will be going into your 8-year old Volt. Nobody is going to build a pack that is compatible with the heating/cooling system, the charging system, and the control system the original pack. I guess it’s possible if millions of Voltec vehicles are sold by then, but how likely is that?


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (2:08 pm)

    You know I’ve noticed a lot of complaints on this forum about the lack of or terrible advertising on the Volt. Well I have the perfect solution and GM is uniquely positioned to pull this off. I personally think that Chevy and GM is right on target but even without brilliant advertising the sheer superior customer satisfaction numbers and reliability not to mention total cost of owner of ownership will win the public over. So here’s my plan, the first year of the Volt 2 platform , create a Volt SS 2 door and convertible version, 2.0 ltr turbo all aluminum with a dual torque level or just a 2 ratio transmission . These versions should have higher speed limitations or no speed restriction, torque vectoring, and the advanced Cadillac suspension that Ferrari uses. These cars shoul be Indy or NASCAR pace cars in the first year and full fledged NASCAR participants with their own racing teams. The $15,000,000 you would commit the theses variants and a racing team would more than be adequate advertising. If any of these cars placed in the the top 5 consistently each NASCAR event captures 500,000 pairs of eyes live and millions more on TV watching this happen. You can then have racing analyst explaining to a racing savy public the benefits of the car along with pit crews. I would even go so far as to minimize the battery size and use super capacitors and flywheels to improve range. Think of al the improvements you could make and test in a racing program.


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    Nelson

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (2:40 pm)

    I’d like to see a Tesla Model S based NASCAR team. The car could have a smaller, lighter, swappable battery pack for pit stops.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (3:22 pm)

    kdawg: You know that feeling when you buy gas, and it goes down 10 cents the next day. Or you decide to wait another day and it goes up 10 cents.

    #38

    Yeah, I was just joking around. Last year I was able to just wait out a couple of the local gas spikes and fill up after it went back down. Priceless! Plus, when the price spikes up people get in line at the gas stations that are a few cents cheaper. Missing that is also very cool. I’m buying gas every 2+ months, so it gives a lot of wiggle room.


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (3:43 pm)

    deleted


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (3:45 pm)

    Jeff, can you get my post at #44 out of moderation? (i may have listed too many links)

    (nevermind)


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (4:18 pm)

    kdawg: What is a little chilly? Do you charge/preheat at 120V?

    It was around freezing at my house. I have a GE WattStation.

    Had I pre-conditioned the cabin, I could have made it all the way to work and back on battery power. As it sits, I will burn 1/4 gallon of gas. Dang it.


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (4:20 pm)

    Hi Mike: Interesting analysis. Here’s another potential horse in the stable. Its the University of Illinois pub in this month’s Nature.

    Google: High-power lithium ion microbatteries from interdigitated three-dimensional bicontinuous nanoporous electrodes.

    The abstract summarizes U/I research team paper on “lithium ion microbatteries having power densities up to 7.4 mW cm−2 μm−1, which equals or exceeds that of the best supercapacitors, and which is 2,000 times higher than that of other microbatteries.” Abstract Nature published April 16, 2013.

    Imagine this: in 2020 the Al-Air extending U/I 3D Li-ion microbattery for much better than 1000 miles and gas drops below a buck.


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (4:31 pm)

    kdawg: (disclaimer: even when i drove an ICE car i didn’t care too much about gas prices (but I know many who do!))

    A guy that drives a HEMI doesn’t care much about premium gas prices either. Otherwise, he’d drive a Civic. And the folks that change stations to save 2c are kidding themselves. It’s much wiser to use the same Tier 1 station if possible.

    I truly don’t care about a few gallons of gas being used in my Volt. I’d much prefer to exercise the generator every week or so.

    I also prefer to use the ‘comfort’ setting and ‘auto’ for the cabin environment. Plus, I installed a cabin filter as well.


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (4:38 pm)

    Loboc: As it sits, I will burn 1/4 gallon of gas. Dang it.

    Yeah, that sux, especially if you are trying to boost your Voltstats. I’m at ~600 miles gas free. Gonna see how long I can keep going. As long as there’s no long trips in my future, or I forget to charge, should be able to hit 1000 easy.


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (4:40 pm)

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    Apr 24th, 2013 (4:40 pm)

    nm


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (4:41 pm)

    (second half)

    Indy is getting with the EV program.

    This was 2011:
    http://www.racinginamerica.com/blog/quiet-milestone-electric-indy-style-car-sets-first-class-record-indianapolis

    Then an EV rally in 2012:
    http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/4/prweb9433282.htm

    And for 2013 you have the Formula racers getting involved:
    http://electricracingnews.com/formulae.html
    http://electricracingnews.com/formulae2012pr01.html

    Not sure what happened with the EV Cup
    http://www.evcup.com/about


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (5:25 pm)

    kdawg:
    Bobc,

    Nelson,
    Kdawg myt was that this would be a way for FM to get maximum exposure and show the virtues of the Voltec drivetrain. Hell if NASCAR was really serious they would imbed charging strip in all their tracks and get rid of the ICE all together. But that would be too fast too soon. We still haven’t seem a hybrid on the NASCAR circuit and I doubt we will anytime soon.

    NASCAR did use the Focus EV as a pace car in 2012
    http://www.carscoops.com/2012/04/ford-focus-electric-to-become-first-ev.html

    Here’s an interesting article on future EV NASCAR racing.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-43144581/electric-nascar-racing-yes-it-could-happen-soon/


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (6:19 pm)

    What’s even more intriguing is the fact that in 8-10 years, we’ll probably have a much wider state of charge window than we do now. Meaning, when we put in a 16kWh battery pack, it actually has no problem with filling up to 15kWh and dropping down to 2-3kWh before forcing the generator. That alone would decrease price per usable/kWh by half. Also, say you increase the energy density in 8 years by a modest 20% (ie the Volt’s battery that weighs 435lbs today now weighs ~350lbs, and we increase charge window up from 56% (9 usable /16 kWh) to about 85% (13.5 usable /16 kWh). That means that you can have a battery that weighs 407 pounds go 80 miles, or a battery roughly half the size do the same 40 miles we get out of Today’s Volt battery. That means that you need less thermal management, and less weight = more efficient car. Then figure that you’re probably at 10 times the global production of batteries, the economy of scale kicks in. The battery should easily cost half as much and be so small you wouldn’t even notice it.

    I wonder if in 10 years we’ll laugh at the Volt’s that had to have batteries so big they took up a whole seat.


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (6:40 pm)

    omnimoeish:

    I wonder if in 10 years we’ll laugh at the Volt’s that had to have batteries so big they took up a whole seat.

    Hope not, ‘cuz I’ll still be driving mine and I get laughed at enough already!


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (6:47 pm)

    Noel Park: #20

    Well we’re still actively vintage racing a 1917 Chevrolet, sometimes against even older Models T’s.Not to mention a 1909 Renault last year at Monterey.So there are a few die-hards out here who try to keep them running a little longer, LOL.

    Those are still the exception and not examples of cars being used for routine transportation.


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (8:05 pm)

    Loboc: Had I pre-conditioned the cabin, I could have made it all the way to work and back on battery power. As it sits, I will burn 1/4 gallon of gas. Dang it.

    #45

    kdawg……….

    See what I mean? The dreaded “GAS ANXIETY”. How’s your BP Loboc, LOL? And +1 to you BTW.


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (8:19 pm)

    steve: Those are still the exception and not examples of cars being used for routine transportation.

    #53

    Gee, you think?


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (8:40 pm)

    Noel Park: #53

    Gee, you think?

    +20 Noel
    I’m still laughing.
    But it’s cocktail hour so what would one expect!


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (9:21 pm)

    I am wondering with volt gen 1s battery shape will it be kept as such and will anyone make replacment batteries other than GM for replacement mainly because the volume of gen 1 by the time gen 2 comes out might hit what 100k or so units? So I am hoping if I buy a gen 1 now, gen 2 will have kept the same shape enough that its battery can be used on gen 1 regardless to what it might turn out to be material wise and mileage wise.


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (10:50 pm)

    The Volt’s battery is complex. The battery pack includes a processor with a lot of firmware. The characteristics of the battery most likely affect the firmware in other sub-systems, like the motor controller/inverter.

    In other words, changing to a new battery chemistry would probably involve a lot of firmware changes. Why would GM do all that development and testing to allow people to upgrade an old model year?

    Bottom line: It’s highly unlikely a Volt owner will be able to upgrade to a new type of battery. If your Volt battery fails and its out of warranty, you’ll most likely have to replace it with the battery that matches your model year. If the Volt starts using a new battery technology, you’ll probably have to buy the new model year to get it.


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (11:00 pm)

    imanjunk: I am wondering with volt gen 1s battery shape will it be kept as such and will anyone make replacment batteries other than GM

    I doubt GM would license the battery pack firmware to a 3rd party.


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    Apr 24th, 2013 (11:48 pm)

    Aluminum air: So you charge your car every night by plugging it in, and once every 200 miles you stop at the pump and fill your tank… with water. Heh. Sounds like a good future to me.


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    Apr 25th, 2013 (3:39 am)

    In ten years my daughter can learn to drive with my ’13 Volt and I’ll get whatever the new whiz-bang American EV is :)


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    Apr 27th, 2013 (10:31 pm)

    There is no question replacing the battery for a new one. GM patented a method to rejuvinate the cells during the development of the Volt. After 10 years, your Volt will worth about 4K so I’m pretty sure that you will spend about 2K to get a rebuild battery as good as a new one.Just swap your old battery for a replacement. Just like we do when we replace old gas engines for rebuild ones.