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GM Signs Two to Build Volt Batteries


 

 

In a significant step toward building a gas-electric plug-in hybrid, General Motors said today that it had awarded two contracts to companies that will make the lithium-ion batteries it needs for its “E-Flex” hybrid drivetrain to enter production.

 

GM’s “E-Flex” hybrid powertrain will use the batteries to provide energy storage for either the gas-electric, plug-in versions of the powertrain or hydrogen-powered, fuel-cell versions. The Volt concept shown at the Detroit and Shanghai auto shows has been the showcase for the new powertrain.

 

The two companies charged with making the new batteries are Michigan-based Compact Power, Inc., a part of Korea ’s LG Chem. The other is Germany ’s Continental Automotive Systems, which will develop the battery packs.

 

GM says it will continue to look for options to speed battery development. Lithium-ion batteries have had reliability troubles, which may lead Toyota to forgo the high-energy battery’s use in the next Prius. While the contracts have been inked, building batteries that will provide safe and reliable operation is still a major hurdle to the production of the Volt and other E-Flex-powered vehicles.

 

"The signing of these battery development contracts is an important next step on the path to bring the Volt closer to reality," said GM Chairman and CEO, Rick Wagoner. "Given the huge potential that the Volt and its E-Flex system offers to lower oil consumption, lower oil imports, and reduce carbon emissions, this is a top priority program for GM."

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