GM's Chevy Volt will run on pure electric power for the first 40 miles of driving, meaning its battery is going to get a good workout day in and day out. With such a high demand on the battery pack, GM is making sure consumers have no fears about the durability of the big "t-cell" battery pack that sits underneath the driver and passengers. They recently announced their warranty would be good for eight years or 100,000 miles and it would be transferable to the next owner at no charge. Nissan followed in suit shortly after with an identical warranty for its Leaf model, an EV that is shaping up to be a main competitor with the Volt. Today we learned that those batteries might live well beyond their official duty inside a Chevy Volt. GM announced that they've signed a partnership with ABB Group to potentially use the Volt batteries in all sorts of other energy storage capacities. So, consider that once the Volt battery is no longer good in the Volt, it could serve a second life in other industrial applications or right at a power grid.
GM spokesman Kevin Kelly told Translogic that the company isn't making this decision so the batteries extend their life by only a few months. The usefulness of the lithium-ion cells could extend for years.
"It depends on the usage, but these batteries could be used for years after the Volt," said Kelly. "On average we could be talking about several years."
ABB Group and GM will work together to figure out the best plan for the batteries – keeping in mind that it could be years before they are called into service. The Volt goes on sale in December of this year to limited markets, so it's not likely that these batteries will get pulled out of their vehicular duties for years.
Kelly says that when disassembled, each cell from the Volt's battery pack is about the size of an average paperback book. That means a battery from a Volt could eventually end up powering something as small as an electric scooter.