The Chevy Volt E-flex system has been being tested for a few months in the form of "mules" -- prototype E-Flex drive-trains installed in Chevy Malibu bodies. But, while the engineering of these systems is important, the batteries that they have been using up to this point have been the older, nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries.
This week, though, GM engineers began installing the first test packs of the lithium-ion batteries in the first mules to begin testing them. This will be one of the most important phases of the vehicle system testing. If the batteries don't perform as well as anticipated, the Volt (and the other planned vehicles that are slated to use the E-Flex system) will not be able to meet the announced targets for range or performance. Alternatively, the vehicle could be delayed as the battery packs are modified in order to meet the goals for the vehicle.
GM did not indicate which supplier's battery packs are being tested at this point. Two battery manufacturers, A123/Continental and CPI/LG Chemical, are working on the development of the battery packs. The final supplier who will provide the batteries for the Volt has yet to be determined.
written by leigh, April 08, 2008
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