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Justin Bimmer

GM Builds First Lithium-ion Battery for Chevrolet Volt

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GM Builds First Lithium-ion Battery for Chevrolet Volt

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o GM is the first major automaker to manufacture an advanced lithium-ion battery pack in the U.S.

o Brownstown Township to be first high-volume U.S. automotive lithium-ion battery manufacturing site

o Plant’s battery cell processing, module and pack manufacturing capabilities strengthen GM’s in-house battery expertise

BROWNSTOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Exactly three years since the day the Chevrolet Volt concept car debuted, GM today manufactured the first advanced lithium-ion battery for a mass-marketed electric vehicle at GM's Brownstown Battery Pack Assembly Plant.

“This is an important milestone for GM – and a critical step in bringing the Chevrolet Volt to market,” said GM Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre.

GM announced last August a $43-million investment to prepare the 160,000-square-foot, landfill-free facility for production of lithium-ion battery packs for the Volt and other electric vehicles with extended-range capabilities. The plant is part of a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Motors called GM Subsystems Manufacturing LLC.

In just five months, the Brownstown plant was converted from an empty facility to a production-ready battery manufacturing site. New machinery and specialized equipment have been installed and three primary assembly areas have been completed: battery module pre-assembly, final assembly and the battery pack main line.

The Volt’s battery pack is made up of multiple linked battery modules and more than 200 battery cells. The initial assembly area is where the prismatic-shaped cells are processed and installed by state-of-the-art flexible automated equipment into modules, which are then delivered to the battery pack main line.

The battery pack main line area features an Automated Guided Cart (ACG) system that includes operations for thermal and electrical assembly, along with quality and dimensional checks. The main line is also where battery pack final testing, verification and packaging for shipment take place.

Initial battery production at Brownstown will be used to validate the plant’s equipment and processes, and batteries will be sent to GM’s Global Battery Systems lab in Warren, Mich., for testing. This spring, GM will begin shipping batteries to GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant, the assembly location for the Volt, for use in production validation vehicles.

http://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/news/news_detail.brand_gm.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2009/Dec/1207_GM_DHam

Regular production at Brownstown and Detroit-Hamtramck is set to begin in the fourth quarter.

GM is investing $700 million in eight Michigan facilities for Volt-related production, including $336 million in the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, which will benefit from battery research conducted at the battery lab in Warren; receive batteries from Brownstown; use tooling from Grand Blanc; take delivery of camshafts and connecting rods from Bay City; and dies, stampings and the Volt’s 1.4L engine-generator from three plants in Flint.

“The development of electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt is creating entire new sectors in the auto industry – an ‘ecosystem’ of battery developers and recyclers, builders of home and commercial charging stations, electric motor suppliers and much more,” Whitacre said. “These companies and universities are creating new jobs in Michigan and across the U.S. – green jobs – and they’re doing it by developing new technology, establishing new manufacturing capability, and strengthening America's long-term competitiveness.”

In August, the U.S. Dept. of Energy selected 45 companies, universities and organizations, including GM, in 28 states for more than $2 billion in awards for electric drive and battery manufacturing and transportation electrification. Nearly half of that total is designated for cell, battery and materials manufacturing facilities in Michigan.

The Volt is an electric vehicle with extended-range capability. It is designed to drive up to 40 miles on electricity without using gasoline or producing tailpipe emissions. When the Volt’s lithium-ion battery is depleted of energy, a flex-fuel engine-generator seamlessly operates to extend the total driving range to about 300 miles before refueling or stopping to recharge the battery. Pricing has not been announced.

About General Motors: General Motors, one of the world’s largest automakers, traces its roots back to 1908. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 209,000 people in every major region of the world and does business in some 140 countries. GM and its strategic partners produce cars and trucks in 34 countries, and sell and service these vehicles through the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM’s largest national market is the United States, followed by China, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia and Germany. GM’s OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. General Motors acquired operations from General Motors Corporation on July 10, 2009, and references to prior periods in this and other press materials refer to operations of the old General Motors Corporation. More information on the new General Motors can be found at www.gm.com.

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So HOW MUCH GREEN HOUSE GAS gets produced to build one of these battery packs. It was amazing to see that the older style battery pack in a Prius creates 10 years worth of green house gas for each battery pack produced. This is based on driving a normal gas powered eco box for ten years. So I hope they are doing better in keeping the warming gas from going out, course with all the cold weather people back there might want a little warming gas. :P

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That looks like it weighs a ton.

Its much taller than I suspected it would be... I thought the cross part of the T was going to go under the rear seats... this looks too tall to do that... so it is going behind the seats? I suppose that will affect the pass-through abilities or make for an uneven trunk floor.

I'm looking at it and imagining the thousands of Li-ion cells and the need for them all to work... I just bought some more Li-Ion packs from a nameless company (Starts with an Ry, ends with an I, rhymes with Toby) and it took several returns before I got working battery packs. Granted, GM will have a tighter quality control, but its still a bit scary.

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Interesting, I just noticed the letters VO on the silver heat shield. So I guess GM is stamping VOLT all over it. :P

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Interesting, I just noticed the letters VO on the silver heat shield. So I guess GM is stamping VOLT all over it. :P

Saw that, too... looks like there was some L and the T got cut off... also to the left is a faint Chevy bowtie.

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So HOW MUCH GREEN HOUSE GAS gets produced to build one of these battery packs.

What's interesting is if you're charging your Volt from energy supplied by a coal fired power plant you put more CO2 in the atmophere than a gas powered car getting ~40mpg. I could be off on the numbers a bit but it's not a hard calculation. Either way man induced planetary chaos from human CO2 emissions has been thoroughly debunked by real scientists but you sure wouldn't know it from watching any main stream news source. Another big positive is a battery manufactured at a US manufacturing site will generate much less pollution than one made at many locations over seas.

I'm very glad GM is pushing this technology in the US. The potential is huge.

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What's interesting is if you're charging your Volt from energy supplied by a coal fired power plant you put more CO2 in the atmophere than a gas powered car getting ~40mpg. I could be off on the numbers a bit but it's not a hard calculation. Either way man induced planetary chaos from human CO2 emissions has been thoroughly debunked by real scientists but you sure wouldn't know it from watching any main stream news source. Another big positive is a battery manufactured at a US manufacturing site will generate much less pollution than one made at many locations over seas.

I'm very glad GM is pushing this technology in the US. The potential is huge.

Electric motors, which can have 92% mechanical efficiency as in the Tesla Roadster, are inherently more efficient than ICEs, which have a mechanical efficiency of 20%. If GM's engineering targets are met for the Volt (8 kWh for 40 miles, or 20 kWh for 100 miles), the CO2 emissions coming out (from the average US power plant) are equivalent to that of a 160 mpg gasoline-powered car.

So HOW MUCH GREEN HOUSE GAS gets produced to build one of these battery packs. It was amazing to see that the older style battery pack in a Prius creates 10 years worth of green house gas for each battery pack produced. This is based on driving a normal gas powered eco box for ten years. So I hope they are doing better in keeping the warming gas from going out, course with all the cold weather people back there might want a little warming gas. :P

That "study" from CNW Marketing has been thoroughly debunked over and over again.

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Electric motors, which can have 92% mechanical efficiency as in the Tesla Roadster, are inherently more efficient than ICEs, which have a mechanical efficiency of 20%. If GM's engineering targets are met for the Volt (8 kWh for 40 miles, or 20 kWh for 100 miles), the CO2 emissions coming out (from the average US power plant) are equivalent to that of a 160 mpg gasoline-powered car.

And your logic is flawed, as well. While the electric motor is 92% efficient, everything else is lossy. Batteries generally lose a minimum of 30% of power in charging loss and more in drain... plus average powerline transmission is around 10%. Not only that, but depending on the final wire gauge and voltage of the system may waste more power.

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Electric motors, which can have 92% mechanical efficiency as in the Tesla Roadster, are inherently more efficient than ICEs, which have a mechanical efficiency of 20%. If GM's engineering targets are met for the Volt (8 kWh for 40 miles, or 20 kWh for 100 miles), the CO2 emissions coming out (from the average US power plant) are equivalent to that of a 160 mpg gasoline-powered car.

As per the numbers here:

http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/page/co2_report/co2report.html#compare

and here

http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.htm

I've got the Volt and a Prius in pretty much a dead heat.

I'm using the EPA numbers... 32 miles of range for the Volt (yes, I think people will use their AC/heat/stereo) and 15,0000 miles/year (that seems high to me, and doesn't favour the Volt). I assumed the transmission and storing of the electricity into the Volt is 100% efficient (probably not true). I'm assuming the Volt's ICE is slightly more efficient than a cobalt, but then I took off 15% for the electric motors and conversion losses (not sure how accurate all this is).

That works out to 3.66 tons/year for the Volt (3.7 for the Prius) which is pretty good when taken alone. And of course it will get better as the grid gets better. But I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the design compromises of the Volt require it to have a battery 12x the size of the Prius and a cost 50%+ more to acheive the same results. It just isn't (relatively speaking) a very efficient design.

But I don't think CO2 emission reductions have ever been put forward as a goal of the Volt.

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I'm assuming the Volt's ICE is slightly more efficient than a cobalt

That would be a mistaken assumption, the Volt's ICE runs at its peak efficiency at all times. The constant RPMs and load make that possible.

Edited by Camino LS6
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Excellent point, Camino.

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What's interesting is if you're charging your Volt from energy supplied by a coal fired power plant you put more CO2 in the atmophere than a gas powered car getting ~40mpg. I could be off on the numbers a bit but it's not a hard calculation. Either way man induced planetary chaos from human CO2 emissions has been thoroughly debunked by real scientists but you sure wouldn't know it from watching any main stream news source. Another big positive is a battery manufactured at a US manufacturing site will generate much less pollution than one made at many locations over seas.

I'm very glad GM is pushing this technology in the US. The potential is huge.

Under such a scenario, how much money would go to oil-rich muslim countries that hate America?

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Since the US has trillions and trillions of cubic feet of Natural gas that the oil companies are just burning off, maybe the smart move would be to replace all the coal power plants with natural gas to reduce CO2 emissions and change over to natural gas so we have less money going to the muslim countries.

Better yet, just go synthetic on everything and totally cut off the muslim counteries.

Edited by dfelt
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the old GM couldn't turn on a dime.

and often wasn't certain what to do with them

when they found them.

it seems to me that the current BOD are

struggling to get sales oriented changes

deeper into the organization.

i think making these in the USA is a

grea idea and God knows Michigan sure needs

manufacturing jobs. the rest of us who actually

make things are pulling for this to be a great success.

another note... the most vocal posts on the

entire car and manufacturing and energy front have focused

on CO2 emissions. if GM has a few spare engineers,

they might work on a carbon capture device to

grab emissions at the tailpipe exit.

that would negate about 99% of the static on the

subject of cars. use the captured carbon for manufacturing

things and let the O2 go.

the idea has merit and the technology has a ton of

other sales potentials in the rest of the world.

how about it Ed? (Mr Ed Whitaker Jr.)

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That would be a mistaken assumption, the Volt's ICE runs at its peak efficiency at all times. The constant RPMs and load make that possible.

It doesn't run at a constant RPM. GM has stated that it runs at a variety of RPMs.

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It doesn't run at a constant RPM. GM has stated that it runs at a variety of RPMs.

And I should add that the Volt will weigh ~20% more than Cobalt and will suffer conversion losses when creating the electricity.

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It doesn't run at a constant RPM. GM has stated that it runs at a variety of RPMs.

But not reving up & down like a traditional car, instead having a few different points to meet power demands at different times, but most or all within the most efficient parts of the powerband.

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