General Motors to test lithium-ion batteries at the end of April

General Motors Corp. is fully engaged in creation of a hybrid vehicle - Chevrolet Volt. The company has made another step to reach the goal.

GM announced Thursday that it’s going to test lithium-ion batteries, the core of hybrid vehicles, at the end of April. It has already constructed a test vehicle with the battery system to be installed. The battery power alone is predicted to develop the speed of 40 miles.

To help spur battery research, GM selected two companies to provide advanced lithium-ion batterypacks: Compact Power, which would use cells made by its parent company, LG Chemical, and Continental Automotive Systems, which would use cells made by A123Systems. However, on August 9, 2007 GM established a more close-knit relationship with A123Systems so that the two companies could co-develop a Volt-specific battery cell. This cell was later unveiled at the EVS23 industry convention in Anaheim, CA. Work with CPI has continued at a rapid pace, and in late 2007 CPI delivered two fully-functional prototype battery packs to GM's testing facilities. On January 31, 2008, A123 and Continental delivered their first prototype to GM's European test facilities.

GM executives report that battery technology will have a large impact in determining the success of the car.

General Motors said it will have the Volt on the market in 2010. The initial production run for first year of sales of the Volt is most likely 10,000 vehicles. Lutz has indicated a target retail price of at least $30,000 and more likely something nearer $40,000.


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