GM considering changing the design of Chevrolet Volt battery

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 4, 2011

After federal safety officials formally opened a probe into the Chevrolet Volt last week, a top General Motors executive said that it is considering changing the design of its battery. Mary Barra, GM's global product development chief, said that the design changes may include “something even more robust in this location or that location or with this component.”

However, she is urging everyone to not jump to conclusions just yet about the plug-in electric car.

Last Monday, GM said that it will offer loaner vehicles to around 6,000 Volt owners as it cooperates with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on what can be done to lessen the risk of battery fires after a crash. The NHTSA said that a lithium-ion battery pack in a Volt that was subjected to a crash test last May caught fire three weeks after at a test facility in Wisconsin.

Last Thursday, GM CEO Dan Akerson told Reuters that the company may redesign the battery for the Volt. According to GM executives, the Volt's battery pack is safe during and right after a crash. They said that these problems weren’t related to any defect in battery cells that South Korea's LG Chem Ltd. had supplied.

Powertrain

The Voltec propulsion system is what powers the Chevrolet Volt. The system uses both an efficient engine and battery power to power the car for 350 miles.

Its long lasting battery includes a 5.5-foot T-shaped lithium-ion battery. This 435-pound battery gives 16-kWh of power and was made in Michigan’s Brownstown Township. It powers an electric drive unit to help move the car. The battery alone can help you drive for up to 50 miles -- depending on the temperature, driving style, and terrain -- without having to worry about emissions.

Volt’s battery gives you safety, performance, reliability, value, quality, and durability. You are protected by a 100,000 mile or eight year warranty. From 2007 onwards, GM’s engineers have conducted at least 4 million hours and 1 million miles of tests on these battery packs and its prismatic cells and nine modules. The validation, test and development teams have all in all satisfied thousands of specifications as well as tested each of the battery’s 161 components. Out of all of these components, 95% were engineered and designed in house.

GM executive director for global electrical systems Micky Bly says that the company wants to give their customers the best in terms of safety, value, performance, reliability and quality because these customers are committing to technology that lowers reliance on petroleum.

Chevrolet Volt can switch to extended range mode when the battery is fully discharged. In this mode, the car is powered by the 1.4L gasoline engine that delivers 84 hp of power. That means that the electric car can easily go for 310 miles more.

The Volt is proof that electric driving is not boring. The Volt can easily reach 100 miles per hour and the electric drive unit has an amazing torque of 273 lb.-ft at low speeds. It can accelerate from standstill to 60 miles per hour in under 9.0 seconds and can cover a quarter of a mile in under 17.0 seconds.

When you charge the battery, you would appreciate just how intuitive and simple it is. You can even use a 120V electrical outlet that you have at home or use a 240V outlet. The car takes four hours to get fully recharged when you use a 240V outlet and at least 10 hours using a 120V power socket.

Just plug in the car and set it to charge immediately or according to your desired schedule. This way you can take advantage of lower electricity rates when you charge or time it so that you can have a full charge when you leave the house.

You can also monitor and manage your Chevrolet Volt by logging on to the MyVolt.com Web site or via the Chevrolet Mobile App smartphone application.

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