By Larry Dignan
Posting in Energy
GM has manufactured its first advanced lithium-ion battery for its Chevy Volt, which could cost less than the $40,000 expected price tag.
GM has manufactured its first advanced lithium-ion battery for its Chevy Volt, which could cost less than the $40,000 expected price tag.
On Thursday, GM said that manufactured its first battery at its Brownstown Battery Pack Assembly Plant in Michigan. The milestone is viewed as a real signal that GM is on track for bringing the Volt mainstream (statement).
Volt's battery pack has more than 200 battery cells. The battery that was manufactured is being used to validate the Brownstown plant's processes and systems. The battery will make its way to GM's battery systems lab in Warren, Mich. for testing. GM expects to ship batteries in the spring for production validation vehicles.
GM celebrated the battery manufacturing milestone at a ceremony on Thursday. Jon Lauckner, GM's head of global program management, told Dow Jones that the Volt's price could be "notably lower" than the $40,000 mark.
The comments raise an interesting question: What's the right price for an electric vehicle? Would you pay a premium for one and if so how much? There's a magic price and GM has to find it.
Here are a few images of the battery coming off the line:
Jan 8, 2010
Where is the Bio-Diesel-Electric Hybird they have built, on a larger scale for the Navy in the past? Fuel is renewable, closed-cycle, charge from your house. Where is the EV-1 tech they smashed to oblivion out of greed and short sighted alliances with Oil and parts suppliers? Wake up folks, they don't want to sell you green, they want to sell you the HOPE of green. This tech has demonstrably existed for years. Why isn't it being utilized? Anybody?
I'm still mad at GM over the EVO 1 & 2, which both proved to be reliable electric cars. Did anyone ever give a reason why the program was scrapped as well as the cars being crushed? And don't get me started on C.A.R.B. which is nothing more than a money pit that does nothing but extend deadlines that they created. Car manufacturers are in the same boat as politicians.
Battery milestone? Would someone please drag GM into this century. LiFePo4 batteries give twice the energy density at half the price, and they are almost obsolete. Either the Volt is a Stalking Horse of some kind, or the level of incompetence at GM is astronomical.
If GM can't get the selling price of the new Volt down to well under $20,000.00, they deserve to go out of business
Tough crowd. Not a lot of takers unless they sell it really cheap. Things might have changed. However, at one point there was a huge waiting list for the Chevy Volt. Even at 40 grand. There's no doubt the early adapters will pay a large premium for the car. This is typical of any new technology. The question is how quickly GM can get the costs down long-term for wider adoption. My guess is not long because most major manufacturers are nipping at their heels. I just read today that Chevy has a low percentage of college educated and tech savvy owners. I wonder if GM would have been wiser to market this as a Cadillac. Dress it up a bit more. Luxury brand buyers are a segment used to paying premium prices for 'status' and gizmos.
GM has manufactured its first advanced lithium-ion battery for its Chevy Volt, which could cost less than the $40,000 expected price tag. What are they Nuts thats the down stroke for a house, like get real.
There are some things about the Volt concept that have intrigued me since I first heard about it, and that I have read very little to nothing about: 1. After the battery dies, is it even necessary to replace it with more than a battery to start the generator? The car sounds like it is going to be getting way better gas mileage on the generator concept alone than today?s? direct drive gasoline engines, including the Prius concept. Without the battery weighing it down, it should get even better gas mileage. 2. How is the A/C and Heating going to work? Will I be able to leave these on to keep the car from overheating or freezing while I am at work with a solar panel or by plugging it in? Sounds like it could be awesome in this regard and maintaining a temperature should not require too much energy. 3. The thing I really like about the Volt is it seems so simple. Trains have used this concept for decades. The thing I really dislike about the Prius concept is that it sounds too complicated to keep in good repair without a warranty, even more than today?s non-hybrid cars. 4. Why isn't GM developing a monitoring system to allow owners to replace individual cells as they "wear out" vs. replacing a quarter ton battery? If they build it to allow individual cell replacement people could expand or reduce the number of cells to meet their needs. Either way, if GM doesn?t do it I am sure someone else will and they will take over the replacement of these batteries. 5. Imagine the power bursts people will be able to get out of capacitors with these things. Assuming GM gets these things right and doesn't continue to design their parts to fail right after the warranty expires, slightly < $40,000 may not be so bad, considering what you can get today for $40,000. A lot of people are going to love being able to tinker with these cars if the design is as simple as I imagine. I am really disappointed the Chrysler ENVI mini-van has been dropped for the foreseeable future by Renault. This concept is perfect for a mini-van.
Let me get this straight. GM, once the crown jewel of Detroit's "Big Three"; now, famous for nearly driving themselves into the ground by catering to the knee-jerk, entitled, debt-loving, reality-TV masses of the MTV generation with Hummers, Escalades, Yukons and Denalis (still waiting for the Sherman to show up), is touting the Volt: a 40-mile-range battery hybrid, that they've been "teasing" us with in lead up adverts and PR pieces (this being one of them), for YEARS. I am truly not amazed in the slightest, that this company will NEVER get its act together, instead relying solely on the loyalty and patronage of their country-folk for survival. While competitors overseas (Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Fisker) and even in their back yard (Tesla) continue to produce cars that far Far FAR surpass the specs offered by Volt at competitive pricing. I will NEVER give one penny over to a company that continues to rape its customer base and ignore the long-term goal of eco-friendliness and attention to consumer (nay, the planet's) demands. They are and always will employ Economics 101 for operating their business: gouge the customer offering as little for as much as they are *willing* to pay and be REACTIVE to their demands, changing models and strategies only AFTER the supply/demand curve tells them too... ALL others are PROACTIVE and even Tesla's way-high price point on their initial roadster is making way for a $50K vehicle - 7-seater - 300-mile range - PURELY electric (0~60 in 5.6 seconds, no less). And folks, have faith, don't worry about the battery cost, if it's covered in the warranty for 7 years - you can bet the price of the swap will be FAR lower than today's costs - while pricing meets R&D. Your price tag covers the cost of these PROACTIVE companies to continue to research and design better batteries, better cars and better ROI for your automotive dollar. GM, will need to hoard it's multi-billion dollar piggy bank to pay the interest on its next government bailout, when they - once again - fail to catch up to the rest of the pack while everyone votes with their feet (and wallets). GM, Ford and Chrysler (are/were) sad examples of corporate complacency and greed in the land of opportunity. They didn't "blink" when their overseas counterparts were "building"... they've been in a coma for decades and are just NOW, starting to wake up after a government resuscitation. VOLT is waaaaay too little, waaaaay too late and priced waaaay too high to ever be taken seriously. They should've partnered up with the real brains in the industry, like Tesla... long ago, BEFORE they became a viable competitor. They may not have the manufacturing ability to keep up with GM *now* but wait until some of the other majors from across the pond decide to give them a shot in the arm just to get a "foothold" in GM's own market with a far superior product - as usual, none of those in the ivory tower will see it coming.
Just wait to get a Tesla sedan, if you can afford 50k$. All electric 4 door family sedan with 250+ mile range, 45 min quick charge, seats 7 and looks pretty nice. But like me, that 50K$ is not happening. If I could, I'd get it. Now maybe when that starts to hit the showroom floors, the GM's and all the rest that haven't gone out of buisness will start making all electric easier to afford.
$20,000 is the right price point. But put a solar panel on the top while it's sitting in the parking lot at work 8+ hours it could be charging. This would lower the cost further, and possibly add some milage without running the gas engine.
Well I see it's competitors as the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, or the Toyota Camry. Which are all in that $20,000 - $30,000 price range depending on trim level. For me it matters how the car gets down the road up to a certain point. I might be willing to pay an extra $1,000 - $2,000 premium for an all electric, but not much over that. So if the car is priced far above it's competitors then I'd sadly pass it up.
I think the Prius and the Insight style of hybrids are the best approach for now. Evolution will clearly move towards electric city and short-distance vehicles, with hybrids continuing where longer distances are regularly travelled or heavier loads carried. Electric Smart car style vehicles will flourish; the Nissan Leaf with a 100 mile range, 30-minute quick charge and 8-hour overnight top up is an impressive example. The Volt is far too heavy to make good use of existing battery technology and so becomes a whole new level of complicated and expensive to maintain due to the addition of a gasoline powered generator. The next step will be to automate city traffic, which will cut commuter vehicle energy consumption to less than half.
Seems non-sequitor to talk about targetting the young buyers with a mid-size 1st GEN new technology car. The younger buyers are also the ones that are buying the subcompacts out of necessity.. You know a college degree comes with loans to repay and often at best on a contract position wage while they earn job experience that used to be trained in at entry level "permanent" positions in a business. Take on a $30-35K priced car while paying off loans from college? NOT LIKELY. GM better get a real strategy.
I repair note book computers and the price of a new battery is mostly more than the note book is worth when compared to the price of a new note book. Therefore the normal marketing is buy a new one! I would prefer to run a car on gasoline as I do not want to throw a car away in three years. It would be bad for the environment!!!!
Just how long does anyone think electricity will "40 cents/gallon" when the electic conglomerates discover they are the new OPEC?
GM-Volt is an "extrended range" electric vehicle. After the battery discharges to about 1/3 charge, it starts its small constant RPM gas engine to GENERATE ELECTRICITY to keep the battery from becoming completely discharged. The car still runs only on electricity. Original specs were 40 miles on battery only; 300 miles with the range extender, that is, gas engine making electricity. My commute to work is about 12.5 miles (each way). I think GM's Extended Range Electric Vehicle concept (EREV), with they call Voltec, is exactly the right approach for a country with a gasoline distribution infrastructure in place. I can commute to work entirely on battery, and still drive from NY to Boston, and refill at any gas station. Better than an electric-only vehicle!
Explanation of the difference between electric and series hybrid: http://chevrolet.posterous.com/gm-vp-jon-lauckner-on-why-chevrolet-volt-is-a Look at the TECHNOLOGY section on this page: http://www.chevrolet.com/pages/open/default/future/volt.do?seo=goo_|_2009_Chevy_Awareness_|_IMG_Chevy_Volt_Phase_2_Branded_|_Volt_HV_|_volt And this article (old but explains the tech): http://green.autoblog.com/2007/01/07/detroit-auto-show-its-here-gms-plug-in-hybrid-is-the-chevy-v Also, comment 1 by richij.com mentions an indirect hybrid. I googled this term and found nothing relative to the Volt or any other automobile. richij.com can you help with this terminology?
Hmmm... not may of the folks who write here are the target of this car. The cars needs to look different and cool (Ala Prius, Insight) and the target folks will be the same premium margin as the Prius plus a little for folks who drive less than 40 miles a day. Considering the popularity of the Prius, I believe this will be a growing market, but by folks who think more with their hearts than with their heads.
Total cost per mile over the ownership lifetime is the only true measure of cost. If the cost per mile is comparable to what we pay now, (hopefully less) then the vehicle price is not an issue. If the "up front" cost is too high for buyers to pay the cost of admission, then a equitable low cost financing or lease program will need to be devised to trim payments over the life of the vehicle. The higher price could also be reduced or offset by an aggressive recycling, and re-manufacturing plan introduced in the design phase and forward. No more "every part disposable," no more planned obsolescence, and no more gouging the hell out of loyal customers every time service or repairs are needed.
One major issue is the CRADLE to GRAVE equation not considered when looking at these vehicles. The sheer cost to create and then finally dispose the battery is not being discussed. We have the cheapest form of fuel - it is called PETROL ot Gasoline. Until the price of Gasoline reached $10 a gallon we really cannot adopt other forms of fuel. Hydrogen would be the best alternative - BMW and Volvo are the only vehicle manufacturers doing research in to this fuel - existing engines appear to need only a small modification to cope with burning hydrogen but the sheer cost of creating, storing distributing and selling hydrogen makes this a long term project.
What you all are missing in this discussion is that a LOT of people drive less than 40 miles a day. The electricity cost for these people will be like buying gas for $0.40 per gallon. Instead of filling up for $40 once a week (at $2.50 a gallon - $80 if gas goes up to $5.00), they will use $6.00 worth of electricity. That won't make their care payment, but it sill sure take a dent out of it. The really hot deal comes from a company called "Better Place" They are putting up battery swap stations, with equipment that swaps out your battery. The cost of the battery pack and the electricity it will hold throughout its life is still much less than the cost of the gas tank and the gas it will hold over its life. So the trick is to set up a system that spreads the battery pack life out over the life of the car - it gets rid of the problem of replacing battery packs (you get a different battery pack each time you run out of electricity), and the equipment can change out a battery pack faster than you can fill your gas tank.
Wait until the early hybrids, with their dead and dying batteries hit the used market. No trade in value, and high cost of replacement of the battery, as well an enormously expensive major servicing, will be useless. It seems that no matter how cool and environmentally friendly they make these hybrids, the common working man will never be able to afford one. I am still driving a 1992 Nissan Sentra which I purchased new in 1992. My total cost of ownership, less gas, oil and insurance is $778.00 a year. This my friends is value. Mileage is still in the 30's mpg, and if the rust wasn't making it's debut on my rocker panels I would drive it forever. This is the type of reliability and longevity a working man must have as his wages continue to drop and costs of everything goes up. All this hybrid stuff is great but can a person expect to drive one for 17+ years at less than $1,000.00 per year actual cost? I doubt it. If I need a car I will most certainly wait for a pure electric , without all expensive tech that hybrids require. And when I need greater range and vehicle size, I'll either own a second car or rent one for the trip or what ever I need it for. Servicing and maintenance on pure electrics should be minimal while hybrids, even a few years old, are going to be quite expensive. Perhaps the industry will get a clue and gear some of the models for the lowly worker, but that has never been Detroits, or any foreign companies prime focus (no pun intended). As always, if I want something done, I'll probably have to do it myself.
It would have to be a price which pays out in under 100,000 miles with current gas prices. And then only maybe. Of course gas prices are up, and when the recovery gets going good in China and India, we may very well see $5 gas again. The last I looked, gas prices would have to be over $4.00/gal for a hybrid Civic to pay out in 100,000 miles. Of course, my habit of keeping cars 'till the wheels fall off or don't go 'round anymore weighs against battery vehicles: I've run several well past the "Apollo record." That huge battery in the Volt, only contains about as much energy as a gallon, maybe gallon and a half of gas. . .
One thing not mentioned is that the Volt will be eligible for a $7500 Federal tax credit. Thus if GM subsidizes the price down to $40,000 (also mostly on taxpayer money since we all won GM) from the estimated $60,000 to $80,000 actual manufacturing cost, the final price to the buyer will be about $32,500. Also, at least initially GM will guarantee that the battery pack will last at least 100,000 miles. In other words, if the battery pack fails, GM will replace it however many times it takes for you to get 100,000 miles on the vehicle. An interesting fact about the battery pack: To maximize the life of the battery pack, it will only be charged to 80% of its capacity, and then drained down to 30% capacity before using the gas engine. After the battery pack no longer can support the Volt, GM expects to sell the used packs as battery backup for computer centers, etc.
Youngsters arent the ONLY people who buy cars. I just bought a used Ford Fusion 2008. Just a smidge over 10k$. It gets 25+ mpg and I love it. Traded in a '93 Tempo with over 200k miles on it. Being 65+ yrs old and retired, I have to buy what my budget will allow. 20+k$ is way out of reach for us. When I can get a sub 20k$ electric that will go 250+ miles on a charge, I WILL find a way to get one.
I must agree with the $20,000 range. If the car is priced at the "luxury" level (30+) then it will not be mainstream and used other than by ?those who can afford it?. We now drive a Honda FIT solely because of the gas mileage vs. (initial) cost factor (plus we CAN tow it behind a motorhome). Total price was around $15k so the "economical factor" is that the extra $15k+ buys A LOT of gasoline (many years worth even at $5/gal) and thereby totally wipes out any incentive to ?buy green?.
Hmmm. Yes apparently the Volt is now a hybrid. The specs say it uses gas or E80 and it can go 40miles on electricicy alone. Andyou can plug it into your wall outlet for a full recharge in 6.5 hours. Nice! Here are the specs: http://www.chevy-volt.net/chevrolet-volt-specs.htm ==>Lancer--- http://LancerKind.com
The price is less than I'd expect for a family-sized first-gen plug-in hybrid. The next generation will be better value, but will GM be around to make it? All internal-combustion cars will feature tech we currently associate with hybrids within the next ten years, which will blur the boundaries and hopefully give us the best of both worlds. Sometime before then we'll stop thinking of buying a hybrid as such a bold choice.
can't afford it. how long does the battery last before you need to replace it and at what cost ?range is not too bad but would be better in the 60 mile range.
The only premium I would be willing to pay is one that recovers the extra cost via reduced operation costs in the first three or so years
For main stream acceptance the Volt will need to be priced similarly to other 4 door cars of its size. The best way to keep people using gas made from foreign oil is to price the alternative so high that it is unatractive to the segment of population that buys cars of its size. So I'd say the target price needs to be under $20,000.
I am surprised at the response to the electric car the Volt being thought of as a toy car. It is the future of automobiles. How come this writing is so light I can't see it.
The market will be exclusively hybrid before long. Those who gouge consumers during the transition will have reputation baggage that will be very hard to shed.
The Volt is a plug-in hybrid. It is supposed to go 40 miles on an overnight charge, then the motor starts charging the batteries.
I suppose battery concept will take some time in the Indian market. But a very good contribution to the nature.......Chetan wadia