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GM extends Volt’s electric range

Fluid fires: The lithium-ion battery pack in the Chevrolet Volt - to be sold with Holden badges from late this year - now has more steel protection around it.

Plug-in Volt hybrids get longer EV-only range in US, but Holden figures unchanged

8 Jun 2012

GENERAL Motors has increased the electric-only range but added to the charge time of its 2013 model year Volt plug-in hybrid, which will appear in Australia as a Holden by the end of this year.

Thanks to “minor changes to the material composition of the battery cell chemistry”, GM claims to have improved both performance and durability, increasing the pure-electric range in the US from 56 to 61 kilometres.

This comes at the expense of a 15-minute increase to the charging time, which GM now lists as four hours and 15 minutes with a 240-volt fast charger.

While these tweaks will also apply to Holden versions of the car, the quoted EV range will not be altered here because Holden already quotes a higher figure of “up to 80km” for its versions of the car.

Holden social media and digital communications manager Andrea Matthews told GoAuto that, because the EV range of the Volt varied depending on factors such as driving style and temperature, the company had elected to be “slightly less explicit” with its local projections and that the 80km figure would consequently remain unchanged.

The changes made to MY13 models come courtesy of an increase of 0.5kWh to both the storage capacity and ‘state-of-charge window’ on the batteries of new Volts, which are now 16.5kWh and 10.8kWh respectively.

The state-of-charge (SOC) window refers to the amount of battery capacity actually used, with the figure set below total battery capacity in order to preserve battery life. GM says that, despite the increase to SOC, there remains a sufficient “buffer” to maintain life-span.

The car-maker claims to have conducted 240,000km of testing on the revised battery cells and found lower levels of degradation compared to the older version, as well as the ability to withstand temperatures as low as -30 degrees Celsius.

When combined with the 1.4-litre internal combustion petrol engine, the electric motor gives the Holden Volt a claimed overall driving range of 600km.

Holden earlier this week announced it had joined the Victorian government’s Electric Vehicle Trial with its internal fleet of Volt evaluation vehicles, which are currently on 12-week trials with company employees.

The company said it would provide recharge data collected from this fleet to the government study that aims to broaden the public understanding of driver habits, and would undertake initiatives to increase the public’s understanding of EVs and extended-range vehicles.

Last month the company announced it had installed a 24-hour public fast-charge station at its Port Melbourne headquarters, similar to those installed by Nissan/Renault and Mitsubishi.

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