GM's Denise Gray Works to Keep Down Battery Costs

It will take continued effort to reduce the size and cost of electric vehicle battery packs.

Published: 17-Jan-2010

Detroit - Denise Gray has worked with car batteries for most of her career. Yet as her employer General Motors Co prepares to roll out the Chevy Volt, an ambitious plug-in hybrid, she conceded that it would still take time before electric batteries become cheap. "What we are all trying to do is to get this technology to be cost effective," said Gray, director of energy storage devices and known unofficially as GM's battery czar, in an interview with the German Press Agency dpa.

A production-ready version of the Volt was on display at this week's annual Detroit auto show and is expected to reach US consumers later this year. The car is powered by an electric engine, with a range of about 60 kilometres, and a conventional petrol engine that kicks in when the electric motor runs out of energy.

The much-anticipated Volt represents a gamble for GM. While the company has not yet offered a price, analysts expect the car to cost more than 30,000 dollars. A report by the US-based National Research Council estimated the Volt's electric engine alone adds about 18,000 dollars to the production cost of the car.

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