GM Moves EV Pack Production In-House, Almost Had A Commodore EV

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
gm moves ev pack production in house almost had a commodore ev

Automotive News reports General Motors will bring production of the Chevrolet Spark EV’s battery pack in-house to its Brownstown Township plant in the Detroit metro area, having already moved the subcompact’s 85-kilowatt electric motors to White Marsh, Md. in 2013. The pack was originally assembled by A123 Systems before Wanxiang Group picked up the torch. No new jobs will be created as a result of the move, spokesman Dave Darovitz stating GM would add jobs “if consumer demand requires it.” The packs for the 2015 Spark EV — whose market will expand to include California and Oregon later this year — will be 86 pounds lighter than the outgoing units, and will have a storage capacity of 19 kilowatts held within 192 lithium ion cells.

Speaking of GM EVs, GoAuto reports the Holden Commodore almost had an EV variant that would have been priced for $10,000 AUD ($9,400 USD) less than the Volt. Only seven pre-production units made it out of the joint venture between Axiflux, EV Engineering, Bosch Australia, Better Place, GE Finance and Air International before Holden announced it would end all local production by 2017. The announcement, along with the collapse and withdrawals among a majority of the project’s partners, led to Axiflux acquiring EV Engineering’s assets. The company plans to focus on industrial applications for the developed technology until the right partner comes along to pick up where the project left off for an automotive joint venture.

The Detroit Press says GM’s board of directors has retained New York-based Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to give an “independent assessment” of the automaker’s inner workings. An unnamed source familiar with the announcement says the decision “was a good governance practice” aimed to deliver sound advice to GM’s senior management. The firm is the latest third-party to join GM’s cadre of attorneys, including Anton Valukas and Ken Feinberg, as the automaker navigates the legal waters in the wake of the February 2014 ignition switch recall.

Finally, Just-Auto reports GM is planning to expand its Indian operations into a global base of operations for small-car exports to Latin America and beyond. The exports will begin with 2,000 to 2,500 Beats to Chile in October from the automaker’s factory in Talegon, with some 30,000 to 33,000 units to leave annually for Latin America within two years. GM expects Mexico to receive the biggest imports from India, with over 12,000 units shipped annually.

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  • Stovebolt Stovebolt on May 15, 2014

    Well, I'll tell ya. The monthly fuel cost on my Fit EV is less than $20, thanks to charging at night. It's no sports car, but has good torque and is comfortable for commuting (80 or 90 miles a day max). With the Tacoma for road trips, it's a good situation. The Spark will provide a useful alternative.

  • Natebrau Natebrau on May 16, 2014

    Always happy to see my current car talked about, although I've got the 2014, and not the 2015 model. I live in sunny Los Angeles, and commute about 65 miles/day in my SparkEV. It's incredibly efficient, especially in the kind of stop-and-go conditions we see around here. I usually get well over 5 miles/kWh, so I get a realistic range of about 100 miles per charge. I also installed a 5.5kW solar panel grid on the roof of my house, so unlike the gentleman who has to pay $20/mo, I pay $0/mo to drive to and from work. Interestingly, the math actually supports this, since previously I was spending over $300/mo on gas just commuting, and now I'm down to $0. Plus, with the panels also reducing my $250/mo electricity bill (as an SCE ratepayer, I'm less than pleased with the price of their service, $.31/kWh at the highest tier) down to $0, this saves me about $6600/yr. So a payoff period of about 5 years for both the panels and the car. After that, the car pays me to drive it. So if it lasts for only 6.5 years, (15k miles/yr * 6.5 years = 100k miles), and the battery is warranted to last that long, for about 1.5 years, it'll pay me to drive it. Not sure I see the downside to this arrangement. -Natebrau

    • See 4 previous
    • Shaker Shaker on May 17, 2014

      @natebrau I don't know if your neighbors are aware (that, due to the nature of electrical resistance of wires) that most of the power that your PV setup produces is "propping up" your end of the grid, supplying some of the power used by their houses on bright, sunny days. I would assume that the "Natural" Gas interests would view this as a threat to their supplanting coal (and eventually, nuclear) to become the largest source of SCE's energy supply. I hope that the CA government (i.e. the "people") can resist this push, and allow solar to become a viable portion of the energy mix where it makes the most sense - in the sunny areas of the country.

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂