Ever since that cold day in January when the Chevrolet Volt concept rolled onto the stage at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show, the single biggest question has been the battery. More specifically, could GM find a lithium ion battery that would provide 40 miles of range on a charge, last the life of the car and not drive the price into the stratosphere?
Although we still don't have any independent evidence that GM has achieved those goals, the company does claim to be meeting its targets. The first step on the path was evaluating more than two dozen battery suppliers in spring of 2007 followed by the awarding of two development contracts in June of last year. Although Bob Lutz acknowledged that one of those battery suppliers was in the lead last June and in August acknowledged that one had been selected to supply batteries for production, no official announcement had been made.
Reuters is now reporting that Korea's LG Chem and its US subsidiary Compact Power Inc, has won out over the team of Continental and A123 Systems. The official announcement from GM isn't expected until sometime in November. The hold up seems to be that GM and CPI are still negotiating the commercial details including how they will split warranty costs. This latter issue is expected to be a critical factor for the first generation Volt as no one has ever used batteries like this in a high volume automotive applications before.