Chevrolet Volt battery pack – Click above for high-res image gallery
During the drive for vehicle electrification in recent years there have been plenty of questions not everyone has the answers to: "where can I charge it?," "how much will it cost?" and "how long will the battery last?" Those of us that have lived with lithium ion batteries in computers and cell phones are well aware of their short-lived nature and high replacement cost, and there's a lot of confusion out there about how this technology will translate into automotive applications.

General Motors made a bold statement with its announcement yesterday that it would warrant the Chevrolet Volt battery pack for eight years and 100,000 miles. As we noted, this is at least in part due to the presence of an engine, which means regulators consider the battery part of the emissions control system. In order to get the advanced technology – partial zero emission vehicle classification and its attendant ZEV credits for the Volt, GM has to provide this warranty. All other hybrids currently on the market offer the same warranty, and Darryl Siry said GM's warranty "sets a high standard."

Pure battery electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Roadster don't have an engine and are thus not constrained by these emissions rules. Tesla offers a mere three-year / 36,000-mile warranty on its $36,000 battery pack and only expects it to retain 70 percent of capacity after five years.

The real competitor to the Volt will be the Leaf, which Nissan has priced very aggressively. Up to this point, Nissan has not said what kind of warranty it will offer on the Leaf and its battery. A Nissan spokesman told ABG that the battery warranty would be announced closer to the on-sale date late this year. What kind of warranty would you be happy with?


  • A battery engineer checks a Chevrolet Volt battery at the General Motors Global Battery Systems Lab in Warren, Michigan Wednesday, June 30, 2010. The Chevrolet Volt will offer customers an unprecedented standard 8 year/100,000 mile warranty on its lithium-ion battery. GM engineers have completed more than 1 million miles and 4 million hours of validation battery testing since 2007. Each Volt battery pack has nine modules and 288 cells. GM designed and engineered 99 percent of the 155 components in each battery. (Photo by John F. Martin for Chevrolet)
  • A Chevrolet Volt battery at the General Motors Global Battery Systems Lab in Warren, Michigan Wednesday, June 30, 2010. The Chevrolet Volt will offer customers an unprecedented standard 8 year/100,000 mile warranty on its lithium-ion battery. GM engineers have completed more than 1 million miles and 4 million hours of validation battery testing since 2007. Each Volt battery pack has nine modules and 288 cells. GM designed and engineered 99 percent of the 155 components in each battery. (Photo by John F. Martin for Chevrolet)
  • The first Chevrolet Volt battery built at the General Motors Brownstown Battery plant undergoes a dimensional quality check in Brownstown Township, Michigan Tuesday, December 22, 2009. The Brownstown facility is the first lithium ion battery pack manufacturing plant in the U.S. operated by a major automaker. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)
  • The first Chevrolet Volt battery moves through the assembly process at the General Motors Brownstown Battery plant in Brownstown Township, Michigan Tuesday, December 22, 2009. The Brownstown facility is the first lithium-ion battery pack manufacturing plant in the U.S. operated by a major automaker. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)
  • The first Chevrolet Volt battery makes its way through the General Motors Brownstown Battery plant on an automated guided cart (AGC) in Brownstown Township, Michigan Tuesday, December 22, 2009. The Brownstown facility is the first lithium ion battery pack manufacturing plant in the U.S. operated by a major automaker. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

[Source: GM, Nissan, Darryl Siry]


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