• Jun 5th 2007 at 9:30AM
  • 15
Click the photo for a high-res gallery of the Volt

This morning during the General Motors annual shareholder meeting Chairman Rick Wagoner made an announcement that will be music to the ears of everyone who is looking forward to seeing a production car based on the Chevrolet Volt concept. Thirteen suppliers had submitted bids to General Motors to supply battery systems for the Volt and GM has now awarded two battery development contracts for the E-Flex program.

The contracts are with Continental Automotive Systems and Compact Power Inc (CPI). The two companies are acting as the battery systems integrators for this program. Continental will be using lithium ion cells provided by A123 Systems while Compact Power is using LG Chem cells. CPI is the North American subsidiary of South Korea's LG Chem. During the course of the one year contracts the two integrators will supplying complete energy storage systems including thermal and charge management for the production development of vehicles based on the new E-Flex platform that is the basis of the Volt. The GM press release is after the jump.

[Source: General Motors]

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 Months Ago
      LG Chem is not a household name, but has produced batteries for this company's EVs:


      Notice the LG Chem logo on the hood of their electric race car! 0-60 MPH in 3.5 seconds, top speed 140 MPH, two time winner of Pike's Peak Hill Climb, Electric Vehicle Class. Check the video. . . It's not bad, though I wonder why the thing is so noisy.

      AEV also produces a very nifty looking electric dune buggy, which is not noisy at all and they are targeting at military sales, you can see it in the videos on their website.
      • 8 Months Ago
      John, The two mode system is coming to the Silverado/Sierra next spring and a light duty diesel is coming in 2009 according to the interview I did with Gary Smyth a couple of weeks ago. As for something like E-Flex I wouldn't expect to see that until the lithium batteries have proved themselves in some other platform.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Dr. Bart Riley, co-founder, VP of R&D and CTO of A123 Systems stated in an interview with gm-volt.com that A123’s design has “significantly” higher energy density, twice the voltage and half the weight per cell when compared with the Altair Nano design. http://www.gm-volt.com/ Nothing was mentioned regarding A123a fast-charge capabilities.
      • 8 Months Ago
      I wonder why they chose companies we have never heard of? Can you guys at Autoblog Green do some research on these companies and why they might have been chosen?
      • 8 Months Ago
      ::All they are doing is redesigning a car they already made a DECADE ago, and adding on a tiny gasoline generator

      except, that they dropped in the generator on this previous car as well already. Look up the EV1 Series Hybrid version.
      at least a decade wasted.
      • 8 Months Ago
      I just hope someone like a big oil company doesn't buy out Altairnano (stock symbol ALTI) and sit on their revolutionary battery technology.

      • 8 Months Ago
      Stan: googling a company isn't hard. Try it sometime.

      A quick visit to A123's web site shows that it is a battery startup that spun out of MIT.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Chevy needs a lithium titanate battery that can be charged and discharged over 25,000 times with almost no loss in charge capacity. That's a lifetime of over 20 years David. It needs to be charged in less than 10 minutes. It cannot overheat or have thermal runaway. It needs to power a 5 passenger truck and have a range of 135 miles, go from 0-60 in 10 seconds, and have a top speed of 95 mph. The General needs these batteries for at least 1 million units per year, starting yesterday.

      So when will Altairnano (and other tiny cutting edge battery technology companies) wake up?
      • 8 Months Ago
      CPI appears to have a manganese spinel cathode which rivals the specs on the NanoSafe. 300k deep discharge cycles is extraordinary. CPI/GM makes sense as CPI's parent LG builds volumes of Li cells for their consumer electronics division. Now we have two players in large scale Li EV storage.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Volt won't be on the road in any numbers till 2011.

      4 years is plenty of time for this to be obsolete by the time it's released.
      (Also far out enough that it can easily be delayed.)



      Phoenix Motors on the other hand will have Series Plugin Hybrids on the road within the next 2 years. Max. (My guess)

      And fully electric trucks and SUVs within the next few months.


      Considering this is how GM likes to advertise their electric cars.

      GM appears to be pushing the "OMG we don't have the battery technology yet" line a bit too hard to be believable.

      Why in the world can't they just pop in some NiMH batteries and be done with it?

      All they are doing is redesigning a car they already made a DECADE ago, and adding on a tiny gasoline generator.

      Why do they have to wait another HALF DECADE to get it to market?
      • 8 Months Ago
      An Altairnano lithium titanate battery has been charged and discharged over 25,000 times with almost no loss in charge capacity. That's a lifetime of over 20 years people. It can be charged in less than 10 minutes. It doesn't overheat or have thermal runaway. It is currently being demonstrated on a 5 passenger truck and has a range of 135 miles, goes from 0-60 in 10 seconds, top speed of 95 mph.

      What more can a person ask for in battery technology?

      When will GM wake up?
      • 8 Months Ago
      GM could offer a low cost version of this vehicle. A version minus the "range extender".
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