Make / Model Search

Future models - Holden - Volt

GM backs Volt battery for eight years

My car: American president - and GM's biggest shareholder by default - Barack Obama gets behind the wheel of the Chevrolet Volt at LG Chem's Compact Power battery factory in Michigan.

Volt to offer top battery warranty as Ford joins in with LG Chem for Focus EV

16 Jul 2010

GENERAL Motors has moved to shore-up doubts over battery performance of its forthcoming Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid car, announcing an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty for the 16kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion power source.

GM Holden has not made the same commitment for the Volt, which will be launched as a Holden in 2012, but told GoAuto this week that it “will take the necessary steps to give customers as much confidence in the battery technology as possible when the car reaches our market”.

Lithium-ion battery technology is still to be proven as a viable long-term proposition for automotive applications, despite all of the world’s major car manufacturers developing electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.

As US president Barack Obama got behind the wheel of the Volt for the first time this week during a visit to the LG Chem-owned Compact Power battery plant in Michigan, which is assembling the battery cells for the vehicle, GM issued details of the most comprehensive battery warranty ever offered in the car industry.

13 center imageLeft: President Obama with the Chevrolet Volt at the LG Chem battery factory in Michigan. Below: Ford Focus Electric.

According to the company, the warranty will be transferable at no cost to other vehicle owners and reflects a commitment to deliver trouble-free motoring for customers with the groundbreaking new vehicle.

Full-scale production at the battery plant starts in August, seven months after it began producing prototypes, with the first Volt deliveries to dealers starting in the final quarter.

GM claims that all 161 battery components – 95 per cent of which it says were designed and engineered in-house – have been validated to withstand extreme driving patterns and temperature, the latter ranging from minus-25 degrees Celsius to more than 50 degrees.

The warranty covers all these components, along with the thermal management system, charging system and electric drive components.

GM’s executive director of global electrical systems, Micky Bly, said: “The Chevrolet Volt’s batteries have exceeded our performance targets and are ready to hit the road.

“Our customers are making a commitment to technology that will help reduce our dependence on petroleum. In turn, we are making a commitment to our customers to deliver the highest standards for value, safety, quality, performance and reliability for an unprecedented eight years or 100,000 miles.” GM now describes its Volt as being “the only electric vehicle that can operate under a full range of climates and driving conditions without limitations or concern about being stranded by a depleted battery”.

As GoAuto has reported, the Volt’s battery pack can be charged from a regular household powerpoint, holding sufficient power to drive the Volt for up to 60km. When the batteries are depleted, a 1.4-litre petrol engine kicks in, generating power to extend the range up to about 500km before the car needs to be refuelled or recharged.

A warranty for the petrol engine has yet to be announced, but GM has confirmed that it will be at least as long as the usual five years or 100,000 miles.

Tesla Motors offers a three-year/36,000-mile warranty on its electric Roadster, along with an extended battery replacement warranty for an extra $US12,000, which is essentially a discounted price on a new battery.

In overseas markets, Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV comes with a minimum three-year warranty, and in some cases, such as in Europe, it is required to offer five years if requested by the consumer. In Australia, Mitsubishi is leasing the i-MiEV to customers and will receive them back after a three-year term.

Nissan is still to release warranty information for its forthcoming Leaf EV, which unlike the Volt uses an air-cooled battery.

Meanwhile, Ford has followed General Motors’ lead and announced this week that LG Chem’s Compact Power Inc (CPI) will also supply battery packs for an electric version of its Focus small car, which will go on sale in the US next year.

An assembly plant for the Focus EV’s lithium-ion battery pack is still to be determined. As with the Volt, the first cells will be produced by LG Chem in South Korea, with production shifting to the US once the facilities are in place.

Based on the new-generation model, the Focus EV will be produced alongside the regular Focus at Ford’s Michigan assembly plant. It has a targeted full-charge range of up to 100 miles (161km) and is one of five EVs or plug-in hybrids Ford is bringing to market over the next two years.

The others are a Transit van, a smaller commercial van, two other unspecified lithium-ion battery-powered hybrids and another plug-in hybrid due in 2012.

Ford’s director of sustainable mobility products and hybrid programs, Sherif Marakby, said the company chose CPI for its “deep expertise in advanced flat-format lithium-ion cells and advanced liquid-cooled modules and battery management systems”.

“CPI is an emerging leader in the lithium-ion battery field and we are pleased to have them as a strategic supplier as we prepare to bring the Ford Focus Electric to market,” Mr Marakby said.

“We are moving aggressively with our electrification strategy and our work to help make Michigan a centre of excellence for a range of electrified vehicles.”

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Read more

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Holden models

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here