Feeds

GM talks up EV battery longevity tech

How it'll make Li-ion go further (and not explode)

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

'Leccy Tech With some of our media colleagues giving the distinct impression that the current cold snap is on a par with the one that stopped the Wehrmacht at the gates of Moscow in 1941, Green Fuels Forecast have had a timely chat with some senior General Motors staffers about battery lifespans and operating temperature issues.

Temperature is a big deal with it comes to 'leccy vehicles powered by lithium-ion batteries for the simple reason that below about -10°C their performance drops off rapidly – as indeed it does above 60°C too, but far more of us are likely to driving around in the former temperature than the latter.

GM Volt/Ampera innards

Inside the Ampera

In due course, new generations of Li-ion battery electrolytes may overcome the problem, as indeed may new types of battery - one of the claims Altairnano makes for its NanoSafe battery is an operating temperature envelope of between -30°C and 249°C - but in the short term, battery management is the only way to go.

Answering questions specifically about the Chevrolet Volt/Opel Ampera in an interview with Green Fuels Forecast, Denise Grey, GM's Director of Hybrid Energy Storage Systems, and Bob Kruse, Executive Director of Hybrid Vehicle Engineering, recently shed some light on how GM's Great White Hope will cope various battery related demands.

Most interesting was the revelation that as it currently stands the Volt won't let you pull away under charged power if the temperature gets below -10°C. Instead, the 1.4l range-extender petrol engine will fire up and drive the generator until the system gets warm enough for the battery pack to reach its optimum operating temperature.

GM Volt/Ampera innards

The chassis

In an effort to prolong the life of the Volt's battery pack, Kruse explained, it won't charge to above 80 per cent of capacity, nor will it deplete to below 30 per cent. Allied to its liquid-cooling system, this should help prevent the heat build up that causes electrode cracking due to thermal stress and so enable GM to meet its ten-year/150,000-mile durability target.

Kruse also went on to say that the experience GM gained in battery management during the much heralded development and launch – and rather less heralded withdrawal – of the EV1 electric car has given them a useful competitive advantage.

Presumably, GM staffers who sweated and toiled on the EV1 have been able to hold their heads up high since GM CEO Rick Wagoner's 2006 admission that the worst decision he made was "axing the EV1 electric-car programme”.

GM's interest in battery management – rather than battery cell manufacture – has been underlined by the planned 31,000sq ft battery assembly and testing facility that it's due to build at its Warren, Michigan technical centre later this year as part of Wagoner's intention to make battery technology a “core competency” at GM.

GM Volt/Ampera innards

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3...

The Warren battery lab will offer free testing facilities to any battery manufacturer, though GM isn't being wholly altruistic in this – the quid pro quo is that GM gets access to all the performance and test results.

In related news, Grey also recently said that GM has been in contact with EEStor, the highly secretive Texas company which claims – but offers absolutely no proof – that it's close to developing an ultracapacitor-like energy storage unit that allegedly gives several times the energy density of lithium-ion batteries at a fraction of the cost and with a functionally infinite lifespan.

We'll believe that when we see it, drive something powered by it, or get an electric shock from it. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
HUGE SHARK as big as a WWII SUBMARINE died out, allowing whales to exist
Who'd win a fight: Megalodon or a German battleship?
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.