Volt Birth Watch 111: Water Pumps Done, Still Waiting On A Battery

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
volt birth watch 111 water pumps done still waiting on a battery

Reuters reports that the wait is over! GM has finally picked a water pump supplier for its plug-in electric – gas hybrid Hail Mary, the Chevy Volt. That’s right, Morrisville, N.C.-based Buehler Motor will supply 12-watt and 50-watt auxiliary water pumps necessary to circulate coolant through the Volt’s subsystems. Not that cooling is something to take lightly, as the Volt’s Lithium-Ion batteries will probably need some fairly extensive thermal management. (Laptop dancing anyone?) Despite publicly acknowledging that the batteries are the Volt’s most crucial component (duh), GM has still not decided on a battery supplier for its E-FLEX platform. The long-running competition between LG Chem and Conti-A123 for a lucrative battery supply contract is still ongoing, despite the intense pressure on GM to meet its 2010 rollout goal. So is GM testing both batteries in vehicle applications, or is it leaving reliability and performance in the hands of in-house development testing? It’s anybodys guess at this point, and every day 2010 gets just a little bit closer. For GM, and its competitors.

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  • Argentla Argentla on Oct 21, 2008

    @ Redbarchetta: I'm thinking the same thing. If the Li-ON batteries wanted to be in the same temperature range as the engine (180°F, more or less), that would be one thing, but for optimal life, the batteries should really be kept well below 77°F -- which, in the summer, is more like refrigeration than just cooling.

  • KixStart KixStart on Oct 21, 2008

    guyincognito: "Well if the batteries..." Each battery is a pile of small cells; the shape of the outside package is probably close to arbitrary. GM has several copies of battery from both potential suppliers and they look identical. guyincognito: "Of course, it could be that GM is planning to circumvent normal cycle times by using its customers for final verification testing." Yeah. Probably. :-(

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Oct 21, 2008

    JT: the VW VR-6 used a belt driven pump and an electric pump. While VWs products have their issues, I never heard anything about the electric pump being a problem. Not questioning your volt vs watt statement. I think you are on track there.

  • Under_the_Bus Under_the_Bus on Oct 22, 2008

    Congratulations on winning the contract with GM. You get to look forward to be bullied, harassed and paid, hopefully, within 60 days for your product.