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EV concept from GM supports 200-mile drive on single charge

15 Jan 2015  | Paul Buckley

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General Motors Co. (GM) has announced its plan to unleash a $30,000 electric vehicle (EV) in 2017 that has the capability of driving 200 miles on a single charge. A concept version of the Chevrolet Bolt was recently unveiled at the Detroit automotive show that flaunts a battery manufactured by South Korea's LG Chem Ltd. The EV is aimed at the company's rival EV maker, Tesla Motors' Model 3, which is a $35,000 electric car also scheduled for release in the same year.

Chevrolet Bolt

The Bolt will be capable of driving four times farther than a Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid on a single charge, according to the company.

The Bolt EV concept claims to be a game-changing EV designed for attainability, not exclusivity, said GM CEO Mary Barra. Chevrolet believes electrification is a pillar of future transportation and needs to be affordable for a wider segment of customers.

Bolt drivers will be able to select operating modes designed around preferred driving styles such as daily commuting and spirited weekend cruising, for uncompromising electric driving. The modes adjust accelerator pedal mapping, vehicle ride height and suspension tuning. The Bolt EV concept is also designed to support DC fast charging.

Chevrolet has also recently uncloaked the 2016 Volt electric car with extended range, boasting a sleeker, sportier design that offers 50 miles of EV range, greater efficiency and stronger acceleration.

The Volt was launched by GM eight years ago when the company re-entered the electric car market. Less than 90,000 Volts have sold globally since it went on sale in late 2010, and only 1,500 were delivered in December 2014.

The Volts efficient propulsion system will offer a GM-estimated total driving range of more than 400 miles and with regular charging. Owners are expected to travel more than 1,000 miles on average between gas fill-ups.

The 2016 Volt's battery capacity has increased to 18.4kWh using 192 cells (96 fewer than the present generation) with weight reduced by more than 9.09kg.

GM's battery technology has been reengineered for the next-generation Volt. The 2016 Volt will use an 18.4kWh battery system featuring revised cell chemistry developed in conjunction with LG Chem. While overall system storage capacity has increased, the number of cells have decreased from 288 to 192 as the result of a revised chemistry. The cells are positioned lower in the pack for an improved (lower) centre of gravity and the overall mass of the pack is 9.8kg lighter.

Like the battery system, the next-generation Volt's two-motor drive unit delivers increased efficiency and performance along with reduced noise and vibration, GM stated. The drive unit operates up to 12 per cent more efficiently and weighs 45kg less than existing systems.

Both motors operate together in more driving scenarios, in both EV and extended-range operation. The ability to use both motors helps deliver a 19 per cent improvement in electric acceleration from zero to 30mph (2.6s) and a seven per cent improvement from zero to 60mph (8.4s). GM engineers designed the Voltec electric motors to use significantly less rare earth materials. One motor uses no rare earth-type magnets.

GM is investing $435 million in the production of the next-generation Chevrolet Volt at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant and at the Brownstown, (Mich.) Battery Assembly Plant, where its lithium-ion battery pack is produced.

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