Chevy Volt battery warranty may influence electric car skeptics

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GM Chevy Volt introducing new battery warranty.

GM will extend the Chevy Volt lithium-ion battery warranty for eight years, or 100,000 miles, in hopes of inspiring confidence among skeptics and potential buyers. (Photo: CC by JMRosenfeld/Flickr)

The new Chevy Volt lithium-ion battery is what General Motors is counting on for its future. GM announced Wednesday that the Volt’s lithium-ion battery is going to be guaranteed for eight years or 100,000 miles, depending on which comes first.

Battery for Chevy Volt is different from other cars

The warranties on GM’s conventional car engines and transmissions are not nearly as good as the Chevy Volt battery warranty. CNN reports that popular hybrid car models currently winning bank loans on the market, including the Toyota Prius and the Ford Escape Hybrid, have comparable warranties on their battery packs. But the Volt’s lithium-ion battery employs a chemistry that’s different from Ford and Toyota. The concern is that the Volt battery will have to work harder because the car is powered solely by the battery for up to 40 miles before the gas motor kicks in.

GM says Volt battery will last

A GM spokesman told CNN that the Chevy Volt lithium-ion battery warranty will be transferable to new auto loans if the original buyer decides to sell the electric car. The company is hoping that the longer warranty will help convince those who are skeptical that the Volt’s lithium battery will last much longer. The Associated Press reports that the Volt’s battery is comparable to the chemical composition of cell phone and computer batteries, which often wear out and are costly to replace. The 400 pound Volt battery will probably cost thousands to replace.

GM is confident in Volt battery technology

With a 120-volt power, the Volt battery can charge in 8-10 hours or 4 hours using a 240-volt hookup. According to Auto Week, more than 150 components of the lithium-ion battery are covered by the GM warranty. Also covered in the warranty is the charging system, electric drive components and thermal management system. GM is offering a longer warranty because of confidence in the Volt’s cooling system which, according to the company, can expand battery life by keeping it at optimal temperatures. The Volt is the only automobile that has a liquid-powered thermal management system. The Nissan Leaf electric car, which is set to hit the market in December, has an air-cooled battery.

The Chevy Volt wait-list

Even if you borrow money to get your hands on the new Chevy Volt lithium-ion battery, chances are you probably won’t get one unless you’re lucky. Another CNN article claims that only 10,000 Volts will be built by GM in 2011. In 2012, GM plans to increase production to 30,000 Volts, but that isn’t expected to meet demand. GM is also limiting where the car will be sold. The District of Columbia and six states will sell the Volt. With limited supply, expect to pay more for your Volt than its advertised sticker price of about $40,000 — or about $32,000 after federal tax credits for electric cars.



Associated Press

Auto Week


  1. Lindsay Jeffers on

    Regarding the battery coolant, has anyone heard of something other than the typical active liquid and air coolants? Every heard of "passive" coolants? I'm researching this for a grad school project and trying to find the right people to talk to. THanks!