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GM Chairman Rick Wagoner announced that the company has awarded two advanced development contracts for battery systems to be used on the GM E-Flex platform. For those who have missed the news for the last six months, E-Flex is the electric propulsion system used in the Chevy Volt concept. GM is moving ahead with production engineering including building proper prototypes so they need real batteries.

Continental Automotive Systems and Compact Power Inc. will be supplying the integrated lithium ion battery systems to GM using cells from A123 Systems and LG Chem respectively. The press release is after the jump.

[Source: General Motors via AutoblogGreen] GM Awards Advanced Development Battery Contracts For Chevrolet Volt E-Flex System
Contracts Mark Important Step in Developing Range-Extender and Fuel Cell E-Flex Variants

WILMINGTON, Del. – General Motors has awarded two contracts for advanced development of lithium-ion batteries for its electric drive "E-Flex System," it was announced today at GM's annual shareholder meeting.

GM selected two companies out of the 13 technical proposals it considered to provide advanced lithium batteries for both range-extender electric and fuel cell variants of the E-Flex architecture. The E-Flex electric vehicle architecture underpins the Chevy Volt concept car shown earlier this year and is being developed as part of GM's strategy to diversify transportation away from petroleum.

One contract will go to lithium-ion battery supplier Compact Power, Inc., based in Troy, Mich. CPI is a subsidiary of Korean battery manufacturer LG Chem. A second contract has been awarded to Frankfurt, Germany-based Continental Automotive Systems, a division of Continental A.G., a tier one automotive supplier that will develop lithium-ion battery packs. GM continues to assess other solutions to quickly bring lithium-ion batteries to production.

"The signing of these battery development contracts is an important next step on the path to bring the Volt closer to reality," said GM Chairman and CEO, Rick Wagoner. "Given the huge potential that the Volt and its E-Flex system offers to lower oil consumption, lower oil imports, and reduce carbon emissions, this is a top priority program for GM."

The E-Flex System was first shown as the plug-in battery electric propulsion system for the Chevrolet Volt concept vehicle at the North American International Auto Show in January. A plug-in fuel cell variant of the E-Flex system was shown at the Shanghai Auto Show in April. The "E" stands for electric drive; the "Flex" represents the architecture's adaptability to be configured in several vehicle packages operating on various sources of electricity.

These suppliers demonstrated solutions that best met the specific energy, power, mass and durability requirements for the battery in the E-Flex range-extender variant. The battery for the fuel-cell variant requires half the energy and power, but must be integrated and connected to the vehicle in a similar way.

"This technology is developing rapidly," said Denise Gray, GM director of hybrid energy storage devices. "These contracts are an opportunity to deeply understand the differing battery technologies before making a production decision."

The signing of these advanced development battery contracts for the E-Flex system is the latest proof point in GM's effort to transform the industry by diversifying automotive transportation away from petroleum with a range of propulsion alternatives. These include:

A diverse lineup of hybrid models now in production, including:

  • The GM diesel hybrid electric system for large city buses
  • The Saturn Vue and Saturn Aura Green Line hybrid models
  • Coming this fall, models of the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon SUVs that feature the world's first use of the 2-Mode hybrid system, providing a more than 25-percent improvement in fuel economy to what is already the industry's most fuel-efficient full-size SUVs.
  • Due next year is a front-wheel-drive 2-Mode hybrid Saturn Vue Green Line, with plans to make a plug-in version of the Vue that has the potential to achieve double the fuel efficiency of any current GM SUV.

In May, GM completed the longest fuel cell-vehicle demonstration drive in history with the 300-mile drive of the Chevrolet Sequel. It is also a leading producer of E-85 capable bio-fuel vehicles, with more than two million on the road. Additionally, GM provides more vehicles that achieve 30 mpg highway than any other manufacturer in the U.S. market. GM is also the first automotive member to join the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a group of global companies and non-governmental organizations formed to support an economy-wide, market-driven approach to reducing carbon emissions.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      This is fantastic! Unbelieveable! This is so GREEN! Wait, GM is doing this you say? This sucks! This will never happen! Lies! It's all LIES!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Good job GM. Hopefully we will see the volt soon.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ronald -No. They tend to be slower, but they generally get superior fuel mileage.

      I think a lot of people are viewing the electric vs. hybrid, vs. diesel thing the wrong way. They should all come to market in various forms. It allows more choices for consumers, manufactueres, and environmentalists (which we should all consider ourselves since we have to live on this rock). The whole idea is to lessen dependence on fossil fuels, even though as Canadian you depend on us for the most imported oil of any country - keeps our economy chugging right along. Do you think there would be an Iraq war right now if he US used half of the oil you currently did? The whole middle east would be a non-issue.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Whofan, GM is not the greenest company, I'm not sure where you're getting that BS, especially compared to other manufacturers with a handful of hybrids here and diesels there... GM has the most vehicles with highway economy above 30mpg but that's simply because... you guessed it, no one else offers 85 overlapping cross competing models. Kindly refrain from using marketing jargon to support your claims. If you want to talk green you need to pay very serious attention to Honda and Toyota, there are no greener car makers out there, in terms of emissions or fuel economy, period.

      As for 30 highway miles per gallon, My camry hybrid achieved 37 today on the way to work, and 36 combined on my last tank, so I'm not sure where you're coming from and a word of advise, before mentioning an entire range of models in general, like 'camry' you might want to exclude their models which handily defeat your argument next time ;).

      Marc I'm 100% with you, ever time I see the sky I want one, it's been a long time since an American car has inspired that kind of desire in me... though the VX220 it's the evolutionary derivation of was by far the best iteration of that lineage... but we can't have a Saturn Sky that hits sixty in 4.7 seconds and will best a Ferrari 360 around the track now can we :P. Castrated or not, the Sky is fantastic. I'd be much more stoked about a Sky hybrid, mild hybrid or bosch on-off system... oh well.

      • 8 Years Ago
      What? No Sony batterys?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ruggels: I'm all for for diesels especially now when emmission have come in line with their gasoline cousins, but for HP to displacement and weight, diesels have been second. Historically, most models that have a diesel variant have been much slower than the gasoline version, but grant it, car companies are trying to promote their diesel technologies and have been showcasing high output models such as the A8.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The EV-1 wasn't the rollicking success some have made it out to be. It was expensive to lease, had limited range and lacked the practicality required for daily use. Becuase of these factors, combined with the lack of battery technology to correct the driveability issues (range), GM made the wise move to take what they had learned from the EV-1 and apply it to future products such as the Volt.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Thanks for the link and info Sam, the press release was kind of misleading.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I know the PR guys are paid a lot of money for this very reason, but reading that press release really did give me a warm and fuzzy feeling about GM.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I can't even believe that GM is going to put this thing into production. It's the coolest and most innovative American car that I've seen in 30 years. Sign me up!

      And to think, it only took plunging profits, declining marketshare, and the threat of obsolescence to get this thing out the door. America's auto industry... better late than never!
      • 8 Years Ago
      "The corvette has improved, but its still junk on every handling dynamic and "feel" to let's say, a "basic" 911. "
      I can`t say that I`ve driven either car. Most everything I`ve read says the Corvette compares quite favorably to the others in its class even surpasses cars that cost thousands more. I wouldn`t call a Corvette "junk".
      On the other hand my sources are the same who worship how great Toyotas are so go figure.
      All things considered above all bang for the buck. I calll the Corvette the smart choice.
      All due respect for the hierarchy of the Porsche name. A great car with a hefty price for a name.
      If the Vette were to wear the porsche name I believe your perception would be totally different. Same car just Porsche instead of Chevrolet.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The problem with me is I am green, as long as it makes green sense. I can never justify paying X more for something green when the most I will recover from the added MPG is X/2. This is the same problem with Solar panels I really want to do it, but financially it makes no sense. It would take around 12-15 years to recoup the investment and that is if you don't take into account the future worth of money, in otherwords if I invested the $25k now with interest how much would it be worth in 12-15 years.
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