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LG Chem unit sees progress in Volt battery bid

DETROIT, June 6 (Reuters) - An LG Chem unit is ready to supply next-generation batteries to the Chevy Volt, a senior executive said, confounding skeptics who said General Motors Corp would not have the all-electric car ready by late 2010.

Compact Power Inc (CPI), a Troy, Michigan-based unit of the South Korean company, is one of two groups racing for the contract to build batteries for the Volt, a plug-in hybrid GM's board approved this week for production in November 2010.
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CPI Chief Executive Prabhakar Patil told Reuters it has made a third-generation Volt battery prototype and demonstrated that key elements of the 400-pound (180-kg) power supply -- including a liquid cooling system -- work as planned.
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CPI plans to double its staffing from about 60 now if key contracts pan out. It also expects to ramp up to $1 billion in sales to the electric-car market faster than the decade-long forecast it had offered last year, he said.
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CPI has shown an edge in aspects of the competition that has played out in the past year. It delivered its first battery pack to GM for testing last October, ahead of its rival. Also, one of its packs powered a test or "mule" version of the Volt that GM engineers have created from a modified Chevy Malibu and showed off last month for GM product chief Bob Lutz.
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If chosen, Patil said, CPI plans to make Volt batteries at a factory on Seoul's outskirts that will make paperback-sized cells for an upcoming Hyundai Motor Co hybrid.

Those battery cells would be shipped to a new facility near the factory in Hamtramck, Michigan, where GM plans to build the Volt and built up into large T-shaped battery packs.


Take this tidbit, when Sam asked Lutz if GM has vehicles running with both the CPI (i.e., LG Chem) and the A123/Conti packs?

"No. We're concentrating on one, but I'm not going to tell you who that is. They're both excellent battery companies, and they both have good companies for integration, but we feel that at this point we have a lower risk with one company than the other."
source
 

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The more competition the better. I have been flying Electric helicopters for a few years now and when there was one or two battery companies involved in Lipo's the prices remained very high for the larger packs. Now that companies are coming out of the woodwork the price for the larger Lipo packs have been dropping like a rock and quality continues to increase as well.

Certainly my packs are still on a much smaller scale but until there is serious competition the prices always remained high. The market for Lipo batteries is exploding at an incredible rate and the good thing about it is that there are a lot of companies that realize this and are trying to get in on the gold rush. It won't be very long until every battery operated device will be Lipo powered. The good part is they will continue to improve the product and will try and develop even better chemistries because there are billions at stake.
 

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CPI Chief Executive Prabhakar Patil told Reuters it has made a third-generation Volt battery prototype and demonstrated that key elements of the 400-pound (180-kg) power supply -- including a liquid cooling system -- work as planned.
Wow! I did not realize a 40mi range required that much weight. Consider that there is still an electric motor, complex power inverter/controller, gasoline engine, attached generator/alternator, and a gas tank to account for. I have a feeling the Volt is going to be one heavy compact car. The current Cobalt sedan weighs 2,747 lbs. With weight increasing on almost all new GM models, I would not expect the new Cobalt to weight less than 2800 lbs. and possibly closer to 3000 lbs. This could easily put the Volt up over 3500 lbs.
 

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GM should buy this unit from them, These are probably American Engineers doing all the work for a foreign outfit. Not a bad thing, since GM has Chinese and Korean Engineers building the next spark
 

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Wow! I did not realize a 40mi range required that much weight. Consider that there is still an electric motor, complex power inverter/controller, gasoline engine, attached generator/alternator, and a gas tank to account for. I have a feeling the Volt is going to be one heavy compact car. The current Cobalt sedan weighs 2,747 lbs. With weight increasing on almost all new GM models, I would not expect the new Cobalt to weight less than 2800 lbs. and possibly closer to 3000 lbs. This could easily put the Volt up over 3500 lbs.
Actually weight is not as much as an issue with the Volt (at least for city driving). This is because more weight = more energy captured from regenerative braking. So you use more energy to accelerate, but you also gain more back while braking. It is still better to weigh less, but aerodynamics are more important.
 

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There will be weight cuts in everything from the gas driven engine to the exhaust, even the size of the gas tank should be smaller. This will not be the conventional automobile, the battery will be heavy, but so many other componets will have weight reductions, it should all even out.
 

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Wow! I did not realize a 40mi range required that much weight. Consider that there is still an electric motor, complex power inverter/controller, gasoline engine, attached generator/alternator, and a gas tank to account for. I have a feeling the Volt is going to be one heavy compact car. The current Cobalt sedan weighs 2,747 lbs. With weight increasing on almost all new GM models, I would not expect the new Cobalt to weight less than 2800 lbs. and possibly closer to 3000 lbs. This could easily put the Volt up over 3500 lbs.
The weight of the battery pack is not out of line. The NiMh battery in the Tahoe Hybrid weighs in at 300lbs, and they were able to offset that weight with simple substitutions. Also, don't forget that the Volt won't need a typical transaxle, the generator will be significantly smaller and lighter than a typical 4-cyl, and the gas tank will be probably half the size of a standard tank. (the tank alone should save atleast 70lbs when full)
 

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Actually weight is not as much as an issue with the Volt (at least for city driving). This is because more weight = more energy captured from regenerative braking. So you use more energy to accelerate, but you also gain more back while braking. It is still better to weigh less, but aerodynamics are more important.
Seems like weight would be more important for city driving.
1) You're never going to gain all the energy back through braking that you used up to accelerate the mass from rest.
2) So as weight increases, and you have to use more energy to accelerate the heavier mass from a standstill, you're only recovering a certain percentage (not all) of that energy during braking.
3) You tend to do more stop and go during the city driving, so the "energy lost gap" will widen.

Just my two cents...
 

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Seems like weight would be more important for city driving.
1) You're never going to gain all the energy back through braking that you used up to accelerate the mass from rest.
2) So as weight increases, and you have to use more energy to accelerate the heavier mass from a standstill, you're only recovering a certain percentage (not all) of that energy during braking.
3) You tend to do more stop and go during the city driving, so the "energy lost gap" will widen.

Just my two cents...
you're right, but i am comparing to a conventional vehicle in which NO energy is recovered through braking.
 

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I wonder how GM's reported move to purchase Cobasys will affect this? I'm thinking longer-term, they want to do more of the battery R&D in-house, and possibly even sub-out battery technology to other automakers.
 
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