Currently reading: GM targets cheaper battery tech
Cost, not performance or range are the main priority for second generation Volt

Batteries for the next generation Chevrolet Volt and Vauxhall Ampera will be developed to reduce costs, rather than increase performance or range, according to one of GM’s leading battery experts.

"We don’t need more range, there’s no point in going from 40 to 80 miles," leading GM battery engineer Joe LoGrasso told Autocar. "The cost of the batteries is crucial though. We have to have a value proposition for the customer, if not they will not buy it."

LoGrasso also pointed out that reducing the size of the battery pack for the next generation Volt and other future GM electric and hybrid vehicles was a target. He also admitted that his team were hard at work finding cheaper materials to make the battery pack and increase their efficiency or ‘energy density’ to reduce size and weight. The battery pack of the first Volt/Ampera is said to take up 110 litres of space.

The first generation Chevrolet Volt is set to go on sale in the US at the end of the year, while the mechanically identical Opel Ampera will hit showrooms at the end of 2011. Right-hand drive Vauxhall versions arrive in March 2012.

Meanwhile, Vauxhall insiders say that a decision on whether to build all European Amperas at the company’s Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire is still a year away.

However the UK is tipped to be the biggest market for the car in Europe and "logic says you’d build it in the biggest market" according to a well placed source.

Building the car in Ellesmere Port is also likely to lead to a nearby plant being set up to make the battery packs.

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The Chevrolet Volt is an extended-range vehicle with an electric motor and a 1.4-litre petrol engine, and it makes the electric car viable for the masses

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ahaus 26 March 2010

Re: GM targets cheaper battery tech

the first generation which hasn't gone on sale yet already looks dated, so I am not surprised that GM is already thinking about the second generation.

Lifer 26 March 2010

Re: GM targets cheaper battery tech

The reason they're not interested in increasing the battery range is that the vehicle has an internal combustion engine which fires up to supply electricity to the motor when the battery runs low.

The vehicle is aimed at the commuter who's journey to work is less than 40 miles. These customers can drive to and from work on battery power only and the internal combustion engine provides the range extension for the less frequent longer journeys.

kcrally 26 March 2010

Re: GM targets cheaper battery tech

the're all wasting their time with electric vehicles, until the technology allows for at least 200 miles range. only a few no-brainers rich eco-hippies, ( like al gore ), will buy them. the car companies love loosing money.