By on July 14, 2010

In hopes of convincing consumers that buying a battery-electric car will not be a financial disaster for them, GM is announcing an eight-year, 100k mile transferable warranty for its Volt battery. According to GM’s release, Volt batteries have undergone

more than 1 million miles and 4 million hours of validation testing of Volt battery packs since 2007, as well as each pack’s nine modules and 288 cells. The development, validation and test teams have met thousands of specifications and validated each of the Volt battery’s components.

Tests 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.”

GM does not, however, specify a minimum-performance range for the battery, saying only that it can run on battery power for “up to the first 40 miles.” That makes it tough to understand what kind of defect or level of performance would deserve a warranty repair or replacement, which is really the key consideration. GM’s claim that this

is the automotive industry’s longest, most comprehensive battery warranty for an electric vehicle

is technically true, but it is also the same warranty period enjoyed by Toyota’s Prius hybrid. Full release after the jump.

BROWNSTOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich., July 14 /PRNewswire/ —

  • Volt’s long-life battery warranty most comprehensive of any electric vehicle
  • All 161 battery components validated to withstand extreme temperatures, terrain and driving patterns
  • GM’s Brownstown Township, Mich., battery plant will begin regular production in August

The Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range will provide customers with an unprecedented, standard, eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on its advanced, lithium-ion battery. It is the automotive industry’s longest, most comprehensive battery warranty for an electric vehicle, and is transferable at no cost to other vehicle owners.

“The Chevrolet Volt’s batteries have exceeded our performance targets and are ready to hit the road,” said Micky Bly, GM executive director, global electrical systems. “Our customers are making a commitment to technology that will help reduce our dependence on petroleum. In turn, we are making a commitment to our customers to deliver the highest standards for value, safety, quality, performance and reliability for an unprecedented eight years/100,000 miles.”

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

The Volt is the only electric vehicle that can operate under a full range of climates and driving conditions without limitations or concern about being stranded by a depleted battery. 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 16-kWh lithium-ion battery, using no fuel and producing no emissions. When the Volt’s lithium-ion battery runs low, an engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range another 300 miles on a full tank of fuel.  Volt Freedom Drive

The Volt’s advanced, lithium-ion battery is designed to deliver the value, safety, quality, performance, durability and reliability Chevrolet customers expect. Key battery features include:

  • Thermal management for durability and reliability: The Volt is the only mass-market electric vehicle with a battery that can be warmed or cooled. The battery is designed to provide reliable operation, when plugged in, at temperatures as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit (-25 C) and as high as 122 degrees Fahrenheit (+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 – the Volt’s battery can be chilled during charging. The Volt’s liquid thermal management system can also be powered during driving by the battery or engine/generator.
  • Diagnostics for safety and performance: The Volt’s battery management system continuously monitors the battery real-time for optimum operations.  More than 500 diagnostics run at 10 times per second, keeping track of the Volt’s battery pack; 85 percent of the diagnostics ensure the battery pack is operating safely, while the remaining 15 percent keep track of battery performance and life.
  • Cell design and chemistry for performance and efficiency: GM’s selection of a prismatic cell design and LG Chem’s manganese spinel lithium-ion chemistry is designed to provide long life and high power output, with a properly maintained temperature. This enables better vehicle acceleration and increased regenerative braking capability for improved vehicle efficiency.
  • Energy management for durability: Fully charging or fully depleting a battery shortens its life. The Volt’s energy management system never fully charges or depletes the battery. The Volt’s battery has top and bottom “buffer zones” to help ensure long life.

Testing for durability, reliability, safety and performance

GM engineers have completed more than 1 million miles and 4 million hours of validation testing of Volt battery packs since 2007, as well as each pack’s nine modules and 288 cells. The development, validation and test teams have met thousands of specifications and validated each of the Volt battery’s components.

Tests 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.”

Ready for production

GM’s Brownstown Township plant, which began building prototype batteries in January, soon will begin regular battery production. GM First Battery Build

“We’re moving fast to deliver for the customer and ensure the Volt launch stays on track,” said Nancy Laubenthal, plant manager of the Brownstown Battery Plant. “Last August we announced the investment in the Brownstown facility and in January built our first completed battery pack. Now we are finishing pre-production batteries and soon we will begin building production batteries for Chevrolet Volts that will be delivered to dealers before the end of the year.”

Last year, the U.S. Department of Energy selected 45 companies, universities and organizations in 28 states – including GM’s Brownstown plant – to share more than $2 billion in awards for electric drive and battery manufacturing, and transportation electrification. Nearly half of the awards are designated for cell, battery and materials manufacturing facilities in Michigan.

About Chevrolet: Chevrolet is a global automotive brand, with annual sales of about 3.5 million vehicles in more than 130 countries. Chevrolet provides consumers with fuel-efficient, safe and reliable vehicles that deliver high quality, expressive design, spirited performance and value. In the U.S., the Chevrolet portfolio includes: iconic performance cars, such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long lasting pickups and SUVs, such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers, such as Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers “gas-friendly to gas-free” solutions including the Cruze Eco and Volt, both arriving in late 2010. Cruze Eco will offer up to 40 mpg highway while the Chevrolet Volt will offer up to 40 miles of electric, gas-free driving and an additional 300 miles of extended range (based on GM testing; official EPA estimates not yet available).  Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security, and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response, and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models, fuel solutions, and OnStar availability can be found at www.chevrolet.com or join the conversation at www.chevroletvoltage.com.

About General Motors: General Motors, one of the world’s largest automakers, traces its roots back to 1908.  With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 205,000 people in every major region of the world and does business in some 157 countries. GM and its strategic partners produce cars and trucks in 31 countries, and sell and service these vehicles through the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Daewoo, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM’s largest national market is the United States, followed by China, Brazil, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada and Italy. GM’s OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. General Motors acquired operations from General Motors Corporation on July 10, 2009, and references to prior periods in this and other press materials refer to operations of the old General Motors Corporation. More information on the new General Motors can be found at www.gm.com.

SOURCE General Motors

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30 Comments on “Chevy Announces Eight-Year, 100k Mile Warranty For Volt Battery...”


  • avatar
    Ryan

    Interesting… Really…

  • avatar
    srogers

    I was reading elsewhere that the 8years/100000 warranty is not because GM has great confidence in the battery, but because the battery is considered part of the “emissions equipment” and they have no choice.

    If that’s true, it sure puts a different spin on the story. But either way, the Volt buyer benefits.

  • avatar
    ott

    It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Chevy is under-rating their battery with a claimed 40-mile electric-only range. Let customers get 50-60 miles or more and let word-of-mouth do the rest.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      That’s very unlikely, to say the least.

      Did you notice how GM didn’t have much to say about the actual electrical and fossil fuel conumption of the Freedom Ride? The car has instruments up the wazoo… GM knows how it performed but the only numbers in the press release are distances you could get from a map.

      The Freedom Ride probably would have consumed considerably less fossil fuel if GM had borrowed a Prius or Insight for the event.

    • 0 avatar
      SkiD666

      I predict 50 MPG City, 40 MPG Highway in Charge sustaining mode with the Volt.

    • 0 avatar
      ott

      I guess time will tell.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      @SkiD666:

      I agree with your MPG guesses. And those numbers aren’t so compelling. Even infinite fuel economy in the Volt has terrible payback when you look at the price difference compared to other comparable cars.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      The press release mentions 340 miles. The first 40 of that is the battery charge. Then the vehicle goes 300 miles on fossil fuel. A fairly reliable report says the Volt fuel tank is 9 gallons. That works out to 33mpg, once the battery goes dead.

      Unless one’s driving is ALWAYS within 20 miles of one’s house and ALWAYS less than 40 miles/day, it’s going to be very hard to make an economic case for this vehicle over a Prius or Prius PHEV.

      After 4 years of bally-hoo, you’d expect better.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    That’s excellent. Now, uh, what about the rest of the car that’s not a battery?

  • avatar
    gslippy

    If it was a Hyundai, it would have at least a 10/100 warranty.

    Seriously, the 8/100 is a good warranty, but what’s the replacement cost for the pack?

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    8 year/100K mile is also Ford’s warranty on Hybrid batteries. Since everyone seems to be throwing the same warranties on their batteries, I wouldn’t be surprised if it does have something to do with the law and emissions systems. Actually, the Ford batteries are warrantied for 10 years/150K miles in California and other complete California Emissions states, which leads even more to the idea that it could be considered a part of the emissions system.

    gslippy –

    I don’t think it matters what it will cost to replace the battery now. Eight years from now when the warranty runs out I’m sure they will be a lot cheaper.

    • 0 avatar
      ott

      Or so we hope.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      It certainly will matter. I’m driving a 2005 car I bought new. If I was looking at a $7k repair cost for it in three years, I’d get rid of it today. [The $7k replacement cost is one estimate I found.] Spending $7k every 8 years is equivalent to replacing an automatic transmission every 3-4 years. Anyone doing that would get rid of their car.

      And by the way, $7k buys a lot of gasoline, so what’s the point of the Volt again? Oh wait, it’s the car ‘Americans want to buy’, according to the President.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    The vehicle would be unsaleable without the warranty. GM had to do it. The real question is whether they will be around to pay-off the out years?

  • avatar
    Bridge2farr

    Much to the disappointment of many TTACers, the Volt Is happening. Training and facility upgrades already underway in initial markets. What would the beloved departed Robert say?

    • 0 avatar
      john.fritz

      Please define disappointed. I don’t see how a TTAC reader would be disappointed about this at all. I am not disappointed that GM is bringing this particular new automobile to market. I could care less. I won’t be owning, riding in or driving one.

      I am disappointed however about the fact that myself and many, many others have paid for the development of this vehicle with tax dollars.

    • 0 avatar

      It hasn’t “happened” yet, nor will it until the public starts flogging Volts on the roads of America. We’ve only seen so much GM hype so far (though the warranty is a step in the right direction.)

      Maybe it will work… or maybe Volts will be blowing their batteries in customers’ garages, thanks to the kind of unforeseen (or unreported) glitch that has been GM’s downfall before.

      We DON’T know yet.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      Disappointed? No. Concerned that it won’t make money? Yes.

      2011 production is 10K vehicles. 2012 production is 30K vehicles. Can GM make money at that rate? Pay off the development and capital costs? Get some operating profit beyond that from this vehicle? Bear in mind that Lutz said GM wouldn’t make any money from this vehicle and you can see that the concern is justified.

      And GM’s getting a huge boost from the Feds at $7.5K per vehicle to further… just what useful national goal are we aiding here, anyway? Battery development? That was happening, anyway. Development of electric cars? Ditto. CO2 emissions reduction? This will be a hugely expensive way to reduce CO2 emissions (conservation is still cheaper… subsidizing Priuses would have a bigger impact).

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      I understand that many people aren’t happy about the Volt either partially or fully funded by federal dollars, but you should really look at how much development that private companies get to fund development of products.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      I agree with KixStart and others that my only disappointment comes from how much I spent to develop this car. And GM will lose money on every one of them. This is not how you claw your way back to profitability.

      Nissan, however, will also surely lose money on the Leaf. It also should not be subsidized here. But Nissan isn’t bankrupt, nor are they developing money-losing cars on my dime.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      Steven02, I’m OK with the feds funding making strategic investments to foster growth or develop some technical advantage for the US. This doesn’t fall into those categories.

    • 0 avatar
      LectroByte

      No disappointment here. I’ll be looking for a replacement for my Prius in a year or two, and as someone whose first car and first new car were Chevrolets, I’d love to see a Volt in the running, pardon the pun. If the production numbers I’ve heard are accurate, I’m not exactly confident how many I will see here in East Tennessee, though.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    The thermal management is pretty cool. I know that the Leaf doesn’t have this.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      The Leaf has passive cooling because it can, not because Nissan’s designers aren’t smart enough to make it active. In fact, a passive system is trickier to engineer, but far more reliable in some ways. Owners of old Beetles never had to replace a radiator, water pump, or hose. I’ll take fewer parts any day, as long as it works.

  • avatar
    chuckR

    Didn’t GM used to make diesel-electric locomotives?

  • avatar
    mcs

    I think they should have invested the money into low cost carbon fiber technology instead and cut significant weight out of their entire lineup. Rather than one halo car that loses money, they’d have a complete lineup class leading and hopefully profitable vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      Along that line of thinking, someone, somewhere (I can’t recall where) recently posted that GM had taken its big SUVs back to the wind tunnel and cut the Cx to .37 or so. The best competition is at about .4. This confers a significant advantage in highway fuel economy and the marginal unit cost is likely close to zero.

      Imagine GM taking the money invested in the Volt and applying it to the weakest part of each vehicle in their lineup… That would make a real difference, today, to their sales and bottom line.

  • avatar
    Michal

    Excellent. I hope the vehicle is a success and sells well. But the claim of “up to 40 miles per charge” allows a lot of wiggle room in terms of warranty. Is 20 miles fine? How about if I can only drive for 10 on electricity? Will the age old warranty excuse be used? (blame the driver).

    I still recall my 2001 Mercedes car manual, stating the car I owned could burn 1 litre of oil per 1000km and still be within specs.


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