GM says Chevy Bolt electric range could be over 200 miles

20 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

200-Mile Chevrolet Volt EV Highlights Unprecedented Collaboration With LG Electronics.

WARREN, Mich. (AP) — General Motors’ entry into the long-range electric vehicle market should be able to go more than 200 miles on a single charge, company officials said Tuesday. Today, GM announced an enormous level of partnership on the upcoming Chevy Bolt with LG, saying that this is “the first time that GM integrated a full EV component supplier so early in vehicle development.” Of course, GM hasn’t made that many EVs — and automakers work extensively with component suppliers all the time — but a pretty diverse and long list of Bolt parts will be either developed or manufactured by LG, ranging from the motor to the batteries to the instrument cluster and the infotainment system in the center stack.General Motors is no stranger to electric vehicles, having given America one of the first somewhat “modern” entries into the sector with the GM EV1 (later called the Saturn EV1).

The company also plans to market the Chevrolet Bolt, a small hatchback car due out late next year, as a crossover SUV as it tries to take advantage of the global thirst for SUVs. LG’s chemical unit has long been GM’s primary supplier of lithium ion batteries for EVs — it contracted with GM as far back as 2008 to jointly develop battery cells for the Chevrolet Volt, for example. We won’t get into the politics that resulted in the untimely death of that vehicle, but GM has had greater success with its first generation Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid electric vehicle and looks to advance the case with the second generation model.

The comments were made at an event at GM’s technical center north of Detroit announcing joint development efforts with LG Electronics of Korea to design the Bolt’s electric motor, heating and air conditioning system, infotainment screen and other components. The Detroit automaker today announced a strategic partnership with LG, which will supply many of the systems around the car’s electric drive system. For American automakers that aren’t named Tesla, the Bolt is a make-or-break electric car, promising real-world range of over 200 miles for around $30,000. LG subsidiaries such as LG Electronics and LG Chem worked closely with GM to develop the prototype systems in the Bolt EV concept. “Being selected as GM’s EV technology partner positions LG as a key player in next-generation vehicular technologies,” said Woo-jong Lee, president and CEO of the LG Electronics Vehicle Components Co, said in a released statement. “The opportunity to work with GM on such game-changing technology is indicative of exactly the type of contributions that traditional tech companies can make in the automotive space.” This sort of partnership makes sense for General Motors and LG. But a mass-market full electric will undoubtedly put substantial new strain on battery supply — something Tesla has been trying to get out ahead of with the development of Nevada’s Gigafactory in partnership with its own cell supplier, Panasonic.

Working jointly allowed GM to keep the cost of the Bolt down — it will be priced at less than $30,000 after a $7,500 tax credit — and helped accelerate its development, Reuss said. “Everyone is racing for the proverbial moonshot: long-range, affordable EVs,” Reuss said. The Bolt will fit that description when it arrives in late 2016, Reuss said, the “direct result of an entirely different kind of OEM-supplier relationship” struck between GM and LG. The Chevy Bolt will have a driving range of 200 miles per charge, and will have a base price of $37,500 before tax credits (the most popular credit will no doubt be the federal one which rings in at $7,500). Reuss called the cell technology “the envy of the industry” and earlier this month pegged an industry-low cost per kilowatt-hour of $145 at the time of the Bolt’s launch, a figure that impressed analysts.

Pam Fletcher, GM’s executive chief engineer for electric vehicles, said the company will try to get the Bolt classified as an SUV because it has the “spaciousness and utility” of a larger vehicle. In all, LG will provide about a dozen major systems for the Bolt, including the electronic climate-control compressor, battery heater and the higher power distribution module, which manages the flow of high-voltage electricity to various vehicle systems. “We’ve had such great success working collaboratively in the battery area that now we’ve expanded work with LG across the propulsion system,” said Pam Fletcher, GM’s top engineer for electrified vehicles. But given the attractive designs that Tesla has put out with the Roadster, Model S and Model X, the EV to watch in this space will be the Model III, which is due around the same time as the Bolt.

Ken Chang, vice president of vehicle components for LG Electronics, acknowledged the company is “new to the powertrain space,” even though it’s long supplied batteries and display technology to automakers. I don’t know,” Reuss said. “But it’s certainly allowed us to break through at least three of the barriers here of traditional electric vehicles,” he said, citing price, range and utility.

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