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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
sourceTake 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."