• Jul 14, 2010
Chevrolet Volt battery pack – Click above for high-res image gallery
During a media briefing at its Brownstown Township, MI battery plant this afternoon, General Motors Vice Chairman Tom Stephens announced that the lithium ion battery pack for the 2011 Chevrolet Volt would be warranted for eight years or 100,000 miles. Since the beginning of the program, it has been General Motors' intention to develop the battery pack to last for the life of the vehicle.

Despite the fact that the Volt is considered an electric car by GM, the presence of an on-board gas engine for range-extending means that the EPA and California Air Resources Board consider the battery to be part of the car's emissions control system. As a result, it is subject to the same regulations as parts like a catalytic converter, and therefore, it must have the eight-year warranty.

GM has released some additional specifications on the battery pack. In its final production form, 95 percent of the components were designed and developed in-house by GM, it weighs in at 400 pounds and has an output of 110 kilowatts. Internally, the water-cooled pack consists of 288 LG Chem lithium polymer cells. Over the next few months, GM will be ramping up the production rate at Brownstown in preparation for the start of Volt production this Fall.




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  • 27 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      NiMH car batteries from the 90's are still going and pulling 10-20 miles. I think GM can pull that off, too. Their battery packs look to be well conditioned and taken care of, unlike consumer-device lithium batteries such as laptops, cell phones, etc..
      • 4 Years Ago
      Solid!
        • 4 Years Ago
        I have to agree with the others here. The reality is they are just doing what the law requires. Since it is considered a emissions component like a Catalytic Converter they have no choice. Correct me if I am wrong but is this not also the same warranty every other manufacturer has applied to their Hybrid power trains because of these rules. So this really isn't any more earth shattering than announcing that the Volt will have Seat Belts.

        GM should have gone the extra mile and offered a bit more warranty than what the government requires but that would be a risky manoeuvrer with a new vehicle. I will happily look at the Volt in 2 years when it is a bit more proven. If GM wanted to change my mind and others like me the extra warranty might have been a way to start.
        • 4 Years Ago
        As the post states, 8 years and 100,000 is the lowest warranty allowed for hybrid vehicle emissions systems under CARB rules. GM is not exactly bringing a whole lot extra to the table.

        If GM had gone the extra step of warrantying this vehicle's powertrain for 10 years and 150,000 miles then it could have qualified for the hard-to-get AT-PZEV classfication.

        It seems a shame that GM went with the minimum and didn't push for AT-PZEV.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree with SU: GM needs to inspire confidence in this car. 10yr/200k warranty on the battery would blow em out of the showrooms.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's marketing BS. The battery pack might be good for 4-5 years max if Li-Ion experience is any good for laptops!!!

        I'm not saying the warranty isn't what they say...I'm just saying they'll be paying for a LOT of batteries around 5 years.

        • 4 Years Ago
        "Volt is basically a Honda Civic sized car and it will cost 30+K. Now, if you are paying 30+K for a Civic are are probably a relatively well off individual (rich)."


        My car is pretty much Honda Civic-sized and cost well over $30k new. Just comparing based on size is ridiculous.

        Under that reasoning the Porsche Cayenne is one hell of a deal, because you're getting twice the car for the 1/2 the price of a 911.

        $30k is a lot of money, but some of the folks who will buy the Volt may buy it for keeps. Real environmentally-sensitive types would want to reduce waste by consuming less, and buying one car and driving it til it dies is one way to do that.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes, it is solid, but this is a brand new vehicle with totally new technology. Why not give people even less of a reason not to buy one by offering numbers that are really above the industry norm.

        10 Years/200,000 miles
      • 4 Years Ago
      Will this car ever see the light of the day? I'm waiting for the second generation spy shots already!
      • 4 Years Ago
      This car was build for one purpose only and it was to improve their CAFE average. Hopefully GM will be successful with the Volt but I wouldn't bet on it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Possibly true. But i don't think that will help them very much. They still need to clean up the rest of their fleet, much like Ford is doing right now.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If you're going to have battery problems they will start long before 100,000 miles. If you start experiencing problems GM will replace it. No automaker is going to guarantee a batteries life longer than this, they would be foolish to do such. The 100,000 miles guarantee will be for no loss of electric mileage for that time. A battery loses it charge time as it gets older and people would be wanting a new battery for that reason. This battery might last for 300,000 miles but the charge might be down to 10 miles.
      • 4 Years Ago
      ...and lawyers from Bangor, Maine, to San Diego, California run naked through the streets in celebration.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I wonder what level of capacity loss is expected over 100,000 miles. If you're down to 50% capacity, is that something they'd cover under a warranty claim, or is that expected derating?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Agreed. What are the criteria for a warranty claim? Loss of performance is one thing, but how about loss of range? Older cars might produce less power as they age, but if well maintained, the range is nearly identical as when purchased.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The only reason they can do this is because they still have the backing of the US government. It distorts the true cost of implementing such a warranty on a new technology. That, along with the $7500 tax credit! We all know that without this enormous subsidy for both buyers and GM, this car wouldn't be viable unless it was marketed upstream which probably wouldn't have worked.

        The real concern is that this is diverting nearly all resources to this type of technology because it's making it artificially viable at this point. It may pay off in the long run, it may not. But it's taking away capital/R&D from other technology that could end up being far superior. The opportunity cost could be a real killer - the worst part is that we may never know about it, so it's very difficult for people to see things from this perspective.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm guessing like all rechargeable batteries, you'll be charging more often as time goes on. Power should remain the same when fully charged, just not last as long.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Wouldn't that be similar to the loss of performance any vehicle gets as it gets older?

        Also, before someone says anything (because they will), this doesn't mean GM intends the "life" of the vehicle to be only 8yr/100k... just like how your favorite automaker doesn't intend for your vehicle to only last 3yr/36k or 5yr/60k or whatever your factory warranty was.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Maybe 8 years later, batteries will be much cheaper, AND offer a longer range?
      • 4 Years Ago
      OK. We all realize the EPA/CARB ruling forces GM to offer this, but I think the biggest market impact will be to residual value calculations for 2 year leases (if they actually offer this on a leasing basis).

      As to the car/tech in general, sure, the available tech for electric or extended-range electric cars is progressing rapidly, and if GM waited longer, they could produce it cheaper, but just how long should they wait? Look at how Toyota gained both general consumer mindshare leadership and manufacturing/design experience with the Prius. If GM can use the Volt experience wisely (wow, what a big If), they could come out the other side as a real leader in this. If they waited, they could wind up with an also-ran, me-too, nothing-new-here image to the mass consumer market, which is what they already had and desperately need to move away from.

      GM will probably also have most of their government loans paid back before they get hit with these warranty expenses, so I give no credit to that hater position.

      If battery tech advances quickly enough, and if the Volt sells well enough, maybe there will cheaper and better third-party Volt battery upgrades by the time the originals need replacement. Now THAT would be the payoff of getting lots of auto makers to standardize the battery pack, at least the general aspects like shape and connectors, but it's probably too early for them to agree on one layout that's reasonably superior to others. That hasn't yet been answered.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This means nothing to the second owner and beyond. Who would buy a car after 100k, that they know will have diminished battery life and a replacement cost of a new engine on the low end. GM and Nissan need a battery turn in/upgrade program. I'd hate to stomach the full bill is a battery is needed out of warranty. Other than that, I hope the Volt is successful and I want one.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Nice.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Considering the battery in this thing will cost between 12,000-16,000 dollars to replace that is a pretty pathetic warranty and it should be 10 years 150,000 miles to give people peace of mind. But hey that means they would have to match Toyota's California only Warranty on the Prius. California (t), Hybrid Battery Pack: 120 months / 150,000 miles
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