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New Projects Tests Whether There’s Life After Death for Chevy Volt Batteries

Prototype system could eliminate home blackouts.

by on Nov.21, 2012

GM and ABB have partnered to develop this prototype power backup system using Chevy Volt battery packs.

If even the more moderate forecasts hold true, there could be millions of battery-electric vehicles on the road within the next decade.  But what happens when they hit the end of their life?  Glass, steel and even rubber can be recycled. But what about their high-tech batteries?

That’s what General Motors wants to find out. The maker is partnering with ABB, a leader in power generation and related technology, to see if there might be life after death for the batteries used in the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid.

Your Power Source!

“In many cases, when an EV battery has reached the end of its life in an automotive application, only 30% or less of its life has been used,” said Pablo Valencia, the senior manager overseeing battery lifecycle management for GM. “This leaves a tremendous amount of life that can be applied to other applications like powering a structure before the battery is recycled.”


GM, ABB Plan 2012 Test Using Volt Batteries as Smart Grid Backup

“Near-new” batteries could prevent blackouts, level alternative energy sources.

by on Jul.20, 2011

Used Chevy Volt batteries could eventually help prop up the nation's creaky electrical grid.

If all goes according to plan, General Motors will be producing tens of thousands of plug-in hybrids annually in the coming years.  So, what to do with the batteries when it comes time to sent vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt to the scrapyard?

Even after a decade of use, the lithium-ion battery pack in the typical Volt should have 70% of its capacity left, according to Pablo Valencia, GM’s senior manager for battery lifecycle management.  And that means that even as the old Volt is melted down for scrap, those batteries could find new life propping up the nation’s electrical grid.

Starting next year, GM will partner with energy systems giant ABB to begin testing the use of Volt batteries as an energy storage solution that could serve a variety of purposes from preventing blackouts to helping level out the ups-and-downs of alternative energy sources like wind and solar.

Plug In!

“With 33 batteries, I’d be able to give you an uninterruptible power supply to approximately 50 houses for up to four hours during a blackout,” explained Valencia, during a teleconference briefing from the Plug-In Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina.


Plugging Into The Grid: GM, ABB Looking For Ways To Re-Use Volt Batteries

Recycled batteries could boost use of wind, solar power.

by on Sep.21, 2010

Old Volt batteries won't die...the'll find alternate uses, GM and ABB hope.

Though General Motors expects the batteries in its Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid to last at least 100,000 miles the maker has formed a new partnership to find ways to continue using the lithium-ion packs once they’re no longer suitable for automotive applications.

The Detroit maker is partnering with the ABB Group to explore ways old Volt batteries can be used to improve the effectiveness of wind, solar and other renewable energy sources.  Old batteries might also provide consumers a way to minimize the impact of grid disruptions, and to take advantage of lower off-peak energy rates, the partners suggest.

Power Up!

“The Volt’s battery will have significant capacity to store electrical energy, even after its automotive life,” said Micky Bly, GM Executive Director of Electrical Systems, Hybrids, Electric Vehicles and Batteries.  That presents potential opportunities, added Bly, “to provide environmental benefits that stretch far beyond the highway.”