GM Suppliers Working on Lithium Ion Batteries

AutoWeek looks at A123, Cobasys and Johnson Controls who are developing automotive-grade batteries for GM's future electric hybrids.

Published: 20-Jan-2007

With two hybrids launched and two more coming this year, Gneral Motors is turning up the voltage on its plans to electrify future powertrains.

GM recently announced a production plug-in version of the Saturn Vue as well as the Chevrolet Volt concept, a series hybrid that uses a gasoline engine to recharge a lithium ion battery pack. The lightweight batteries are common in consumer electronics. In the auto industry, the batteries are more expensive than nickel-metal hydride batteries, but they have higher voltage and more energy density.

GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz says the Volt stands a good chance at making production around 2010 - if lithium ion battery technology continues to evolve. GM has awarded two development contracts to battery suppliers. One went to Cobasys LLC, the supplier on the Saturn Aura hybrid. Cobasys and a partner, A123Systems, best known for making the lithium ion batteries for Black & Decker power tools, are working on the GM contract. Scott Lindholm, vice president for systems engineering at Cobasys, spoke with Automotive News Staff Reporter Richard Truett at the Detroit auto show.


Allocating significant money to produce a saleable hydrogen fuel cell car is likely to be a tough decision for GM. Larry Burns with image of Sequel fuel cell car behind him.

The dual-mode hybrid system will be available in a wide range of cars, trucks and S.U.V.'s made by the three companies, starting with the 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe that goes on sale in fall 2007.

The pollution-free technology holds the potential of zero emissions and a sustainable source of energy produced when hydrogen and oxygen are mixed.


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