GM gives lithium-ion car eight-year warranty

Car giant General Motors (GM) is touting the reliability of the lithium-ion batteries in its new Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle by providing its customers with an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty.

The Volt’s battery warranty covers all 161 battery components, 95 per cent of which are designed and engineered by GM, in addition to the thermal-management system, charging system and electric-drive components.

It has a range of about 340 miles and is powered with electricity at all times. For up to the first 40 miles, the Volt is powered solely by electricity stored in its 16kWh lithium-ion battery, using no fuel and producing no emissions.

When the Volt’s lithium-ion battery runs low, an engine/generator kicks in to extend the driving range another 300 miles on a full tank of fuel.

The Volt’s battery is designed to operate at temperatures as low as -13°F (-25°C) and as high as 122°F (50°C).

In cold weather, the battery will be preheated during charging to provide full power capability. In hot weather − the most challenging environment for a battery − it can be chilled during charging. The Volt’s liquid thermal-management system can also be powered during driving by the battery or engine/generator.

The Volt’s battery-management system continuously monitors the battery in real time. More than 500 diagnostics run 10 times per second − 85 per cent of the diagnostics ensure the battery pack is operating safely, while the remaining 15 per cent keep track of battery performance and life.

GM’s engineers have completed more than one million miles and four million hours of validation testing of Volt battery packs since 2007, as well as each pack’s nine modules and 288 cells. These include short circuit, corrosion, dust, impact, water submersion, crush and penetration, and extreme temperature swings combined with aggressive drive cycles, also known as shake, bake and roll.

The company’s Brownstown Township plant, which began building prototype batteries in January, will soon begin full production of the batteries for Chevrolet Volts. These will be delivered to dealers before the end of the year.