• Sep 21st 2010 at 10:59AM
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2011 Chevrolet Volt – Click above for high-res image gallery

The keys to the first Chevrolet Volt haven't even landed in their owner's pocket yet, and General Motors is already looking to what will happen to the vehicle's batteries at the end of the EV's life cycle. As it turns out, those cells may play a part in upping the efficiency of the electrical grid in America. GM has signed a memorandum of understanding with ABB Group aimed at developing new projects just for the Volt batteries after they've lived out their useful lives in the extended-range EV, and the two companies believe the cells will still have the ability to effectively store energy even after they've done a tour of duty on the road.

According to GM's press release, ABB Group is the world's largest supplier of power grid systems, so the company ought to know a thing or two about storing electricity. If all goes to plan, the recycled Volt batteries may be used for everything from storing energy from renewable sources like wind, solar or hydro plants, to serving as backup power solutions for communities. Hit the jump to take a look at the press release.

  • 11/29/09 7:17:39 -- Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A Vehicle Chief Engineer Andrew Farah and the new Chevy Volt during the Dodger Stadium ride and drive.

[Source: General Motors]

Show full PR text
Chevrolet Volt Batteries Could Enable Renewable Energy Solutions
Partnership with ABB Group to identify post-vehicle applications for Volt batteries

TROY, Mich. – General Motors and ABB Group will work together to develop pilot projects for re-using the batteries from the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle, examining whether the batteries may be a source for renewable energy that could improve the effectiveness of wind and solar power generation.
The opportunity is the basis of a memorandum of understanding signed between General Motors and ABB Group.

The two companies are collaborating to determine how the Volt's 16-kWh lithium-ion batteries can be used to provide stationary electric grid storage systems once the batteries have fulfilled their usefulness in customers' vehicles.

The ultimate goal is to provide cost-effective, innovative solutions that will improve the efficiency of the country's electrical grid.

"The Volt's battery will have significant capacity to store electrical energy, even after its automotive life," said Micky Bly, GM Executive Director of Electrical Systems, Hybrids, Electric Vehicles and Batteries. "That's why we're joining forces with ABB to find ways to enable the Volt batteries to provide environmental benefits that stretch far beyond the highway."

Bly announced the partnership Tuesday at the EV Battery Tech conference here. "Our relationship with ABB will help develop solutions that optimize the full lifecycle of the Volt battery," Bly said. The Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range will provide customers with a standard, eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on its advanced, lithium-ion battery. It is the automotive industry's longest, most comprehensive battery warranty for an electric vehicle, and is transferable at no cost to other vehicle owners.

The Volt's comprehensive battery warranty covers all 161 battery components, 95 percent of which are designed and engineered by GM, in addition to the thermal management system, charging system and electric drive components.

ABB is the world's largest supplier of power grid systems and a leader in power and automation technologies. Their technologies enable utilities and industry to improve performance, while reducing their environmental impact.

"Future smart grids will incorporate a larger proportion of renewable energy sources and will need to supply a vast e-mobility infrastructure – both of which require a wide range of energy storage solutions," said Bazmi Husain, head of ABB's smart grids initiative. "We are excited to explore the possibility of employing electric car batteries in a second use that could help build needed storage capacity and provide far-reaching economic and environmental benefits."

Engineers and researchers from both companies are working together to study:

* Renewable Energy Storage: Power generated by wind and the sun can be stored in Volt battery systems and used when demand warrants.
* Grid Load Management: Utilities will be able to use the Volt batteries to store electricity generated during off-peak periods to supplement demand during high-peak operation. This will help utilities to better manage the grid, improving reliability and efficiency.
* Back-up Power Supplies for Communities: Volt battery systems can store electricity that can be used by communities during power outages caused by storms or other natural disasters.
* Time of Use Management: Industrial customers can store off-peak, lower-priced electrical power in Volt batteries for use during peak demand time of day for cost savings.
"Chevrolet and GM are committed to assuring that our vehicles minimize their impact on the environment," Bly said. "Our focus on finding additional applications for the Volt's batteries after their vehicle use extends our commitment to unprecedented levels."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Life time supply of Stomper power.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Until we get off-peak metering, this won't make much sense.
      • 5 Years Ago
      How about powering synaptic suggestion machines to help people with depression after realizing they could have saved much more money by buying a reliable used gas car instead of a overpriced Volt?
      • 5 Years Ago
      And what of the environmental cost of lugging these batteries around all over the place in dirty old big rigs? None of this stuff ever seems to get factored in... all people see is "ooh, it's electricity. It must be green!"
        • 5 Years Ago
        That seems pretty save compared to all the oil tanker accidents, pipeline bursts and oil drill platform explosions.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I could make a hat, or a broach...
      • 5 Years Ago
      How bout stacking them on top of each other - four stacks each, placing a board on top and then calling it a desk???
      • 5 Years Ago
      Are people still planning to buy the volt?

      Who has 45 grand to spend in this depression on a car?

      Why would you when a plug in prius is cheaper and better?

      The gov. still owns GM! So screw them!!! Volt = epic fail.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If you believe that the recession is over, I have some ocean front property in Arizona for you. You might have to kick some heavily armed drug cartel folks out, first, though.

        The government doesn't factor food or fuel into inflation statistics. They don't count people who are under-employed, they don't count people who have stopped claimining unemployment, and they botch statistics left and right.

        Other statistics say that average household income/buying power has actually declined almost 5% over the last decade, most of which has happened between 2007-2009, and incomes have not risen much at all since 2009.

        businesses may be growing by single percentage points, rather than retracting.

        BUT THEY ARE GROWING VERY SLOWLY, and out of a very deep hole.

        Real people don't have a lot of buying power, and that will continue.

        Just wait until these very slowly growing businesses and industries get CLOBBERED by raised taxes, when they go way back up on January 1, 2011.

        The growth now, could be argued to be front-loading, and doing business now, before the taxes go up.

        2010 is, and has been tight. 2011 could make 2010 look rosy. And people buying an electrified Cruze (which is what a Volt is.) for about as much money as the average annual household income level, could very well fall flat on it's face, if the economy grinds to a halt, and unemployment takes another dive.

        The economy is being ground to a halt, and everyone paying attention knows it, even if some activity is going on now... people who know, can see the writing on the wall, as to what is coming, if the government continues what it is doing.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You guys apparently don't understand the true definition of 'recession'. A recession is an economic term defined by changes in a nation's GDP, not unemployment. A recession is 2 or more quarters of declining GDP. America's GDP has been growing since June 2009, therefore the recession ended in June 2009 when GDP started growing. Unemployment is a result of a recession, not the definition. Not only that, Unemployment is a lagging indicator, it starts to increase months after a recession has started, and doesn't get back to normal levels until long after a recession has ended. For example, the 2001 recession technically ended in November 2001, however, unemployment didn't peak until June 2003, a year and a half later.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "The recession ended June 2009"

        You tell that to everyone, including me, who can't get a job as of late.
      • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Massive paperweight.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You are talking about SimpleCar's Mirage right?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Nissan is planning something similar with the retired LEAF batteries.

      Many nuclear powerplants, at their minimum power output, generate far more energy than what the grid requires. Some countries use that energy to pump water up stream to a dam, others just let it go to waste.

      Batteries can essentially function as potential energy storage for non-peak hours and not let the unused energy go to complete waste.

        • 5 Years Ago

        wait - what? I was told that hydrogen cars were stupid because you have to burn oil to make hydrogen - but you're saying that hydrogen can be produced from energy that has no grid to go to? It's almost like someone has been trying to mislead me... either that or there was some other reason hydrogen cars are dumb, and I just wasn't listening.
        • 5 Years Ago
        lol ok. (not lol'ing at the assertion batteries can take up some off peak power but that any number of volt, leaf, or any other combination of batteries to take up an even microscopic percentage of that power produced, per plant. lolz).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well, you have been mislead. A little. Maybe. Currently only about 30% of the power generated for the US grid comes from non-carbon sources. Of that, there might be some waste capacity, but the 1st correct step is to balance between coal/gas generation and this to minimize carbon use. Remember- once you plug in a significant number of EV's (and any plan looking at their battery life can only follow large number sales)the off-peak demand will go up significantly. Hydrogen as an energy storage device- is horribly in-efficient. I'd like to see some data before I'm convinced otherwise.
        • 5 Years Ago
        National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) has been very successful in using hydrogen as energy storage for renewable sources such as wind and solar.

        It's much easier and cheaper than building a reservoir for pumped hydro storage, especially if you live somewhere relatively flat like the Great Plains.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Same goes for wind farms at night. They just sit there, spinning idly.
      • 5 Years Ago
      cant they reuse the chemicals 100%?
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM is really checking around every corner with the Volt, they're doing one hell of a job.

      From what I understand there are over 100,000 people heavily interested in buying the Volt as of today, far from an epic fail.
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