GM will do 'whatever it takes' to get Volt on the road
WARREN -- The battery for General Motors Corp.'s Chevrolet Volt will be
one-third as heavy and more than two feet shorter than those that
powered the automaker's infamous EV1 electric cars of the 1990s, the
company said today.
GM, under intense pressure to deliver the battery-powered Volt by its
self-imposed 2010 deadline, said it's ready to begin testing the battery
packs in actual vehicles.
Frank Weber, the lead executive on the Volt project, said the Volt is
GM's top priority and that the company is ready to spend as necessary to
get the vehicle on the road.
"Whatever it takes to do, we will do," he said.
Officials from GM will spend today disclosing select details about the
Volt's design and engineering to journalists and auto analysts gathered
GM still displays a red EV1, a battery-powered car GM produced a decade
ago and then eliminated amid much controversy, in the Warren lab where
Volt battery testing is taking place.
The EV1 battery used nickel metal hydride, stands 92 inches tall and
weighs 1,200 pounds. The Volt battery, a T-shaped pack of cells like the
EV1 battery pack, is 64 inches tall and weighs about 400 pounds. Both
produce the same amount of power.
The Volt would be powered by a system called E-Flex with a range of
about 40 miles. An onboard motor, which GM plans to make compatible with
a range of fuels including gasoline and ethanol, would recharge the
battery on the road.
GM said two years of battery testing will be required to determine
whether the batteries can withstand 10 years of use, the goal GM said it
must meet for a battery viable in the mass market.
The automaker will evaluate the batteries in extreme temperatures to
exaggerate conditions and accelerate the test results.
"Does that mean know how the battery will perform in 10 years? It does
not," said battery engineer Roland Matthe. "But we're working on a more
ambitious timeline than 10 years."