We’re on the cusp of a battery revolution. On Thursday, General Motors will begin battery pack assembly at its plant in Brownstown Township, Michigan. It will be the first plant of its kind in the United States and, one can hope, start a trend rather than a flash in the pan.
Remember the stimulus package – that controversial, Titanic piece of legislation? Well you can thank our government, at least in part, for this leap forward on the part of GM. Way back in March, the president announced plans to reward advances in battery technology for the support of electric vehicle proliferation in the states.
General Motors was one of many companies that applied for some of the $2 billion+ in federal funding under the Electric Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative.
The money wasn’t just to boost hybrid vehicles in the United States, but to boost our competitiveness in the “battery wars.” Most of the batteries that power your phone, laptop, and various mobile devices and pending tablets come from overseas. Companies like LG, in South Korea, currently hold a rather large market share. While General Motors will be using cells from LG, the actual manufacturing of the battery packs will be going on right here – or in Michigan, rather.
Just as the United States has a role to play in battery production, GM, and the Obama administration, is hoping that there are also gains to be made in the area of more efficient automobile. Having grown up on a steady diet of Buick Leasers, Oldsmobile 98s and Cadillac DeVilles, I can say without reservation that I do not equate U.S. automobiles with either efficiency or the future of driving.
That’s not to say that I don’t love Buicks – just drop by and I’ll take you for a ride in mine.
But when I think compact efficiency, I think Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, etc. However, with the exception of the Prius, most of the models rely on fuel efficiency. Battery-powered cars, while not new in concept, have yet to reach any sort of critical mass. So, cars like the Chevy Volt enter into a race that is still very much anyone’s game.
The Volt’s lithium-ion battery pack will be able to charge both on board, by way of an internal combustion engine, and externally, from a plain, old household current. This means that, just as we now plug our phones in overnight, so too may we, in the future, charge our cars while we sleep. According to Discover Magazine, that’s a good 40 miles out of 80 cents of electricity. Not too shabby!
Learn more about the Chevy Volt below.
[via earth2tech]Article By: Forest Taylor