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GM Picks First Battery Suppliers/Expects PHEV Prototypes This Year
Jan 4, 2007 (From the CalCars-News archive)
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GM's announcement, ahead of more PHEVs news expected on Monday from the company, has picked its first partners for batteries for its Saturn Vue PHEV. When GM announced that car, while committing to it as a production vehicle, not a concept car, it gave no timetable (see our postings from Dec. 4 and succeeding days at http://www.calcars.org/­news-archive.html). Now in addition to saying it will start with two companies' lithium-ion batteries, it has projected "prototype Saturn Vue Green Line plug-in hybrids beginning later this year." The company also made clear these partnerships were not exclusive -- it clearly is keeping its options open. The report below from Green Car Congress excerpts the company's press release, which follows in its entirety.

A123Systems-Cobasys and Johnson Controls-Saft to Supply GM with Li-Ion Batteries for Plug-in Hybrid Development Program 4 January 2007 http://www.greencarcongress.com/­2007/­01/­a123systems_and.html

GM has awarded advanced battery development contracts to two suppliers to design and test lithium-ion batteries for use in the Saturn Vue Green Line plug-in hybrid SUV. One contract goes to the recently announced A123Systems-Cobasys partnership (earlier post), the other to Johnson Controls-Saft Advanced Power Solutions, LLC, a joint venture between Tier 1 automotive supplier Johnson Controls and Saft.

According to Denise Gray, GM's newly appointed director of hybrid energy storage systems, the companies will be challenged to prove the durability, reliability and potential cost at mass volumes of their technology.

Thanks to critical relationships with the US government, collaborative research with Ford and DaimlerChrysler under the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC), significant progress has been made in battery research. But a lot of testing and development is still needed. Together, with our suppliers, we intend to address the issues relating to thermal management, storage capacity, recharge times, driving range and cost reduction. -Denise Gray

GM will evaluate the two test batteries in prototype Saturn Vue Green Line plug-in hybrids beginning later this year. GM recently announced its intention to produce a Vue Green Line plug-in hybrid SUV that has the potential to achieve double the fuel efficiency of any current SUV. (Earlier post.)

In addition to plug-in technology and a lithium-ion battery pack when ready, the Vue Green Line will use a modified version of GM's two-mode hybrid system to achieve significant increases in fuel economy.

While both are lithium-ion batteries, the chemistry differs significantly. The suppliers also use unique methods in the design and assembling of the battery packs.

Johnson Controls' power solutions business provides more than 110 million starter batteries globally each year. Saft is a world leader in high performance batteries and has a decade of experience in lithium-ion development and manufacturing. Saft provided lithium-ion batteries for the Chevrolet Sequel fuel cell concept vehicle.

Cobasys is presently supplying nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) systems for the Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid SUV and will be supplying NiMH systems for the 2007 Saturn Aura Green Line hybrid sedan. A123Systems, which employs 250 people, was started in 2001 to commercialize technology developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). A123Systems has quickly grown to be one of the world's largest suppliers of high power lithium-ion batteries.

Last month, A123Systems was awarded a $15 million development contract by the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC), an organization composed of DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation. USABC awarded the contract in collaboration with the US Department of Energy (DOE) to optimize the A123Systems proprietary doped nanophosphate battery technology for hybrid electric vehicle applications with a focus on systems that are high-power, abuse-tolerant, long lasting and cost effective.

A123Systems claims that its automotive-class battery technology offers a range of benefits for plug-in electric vehicles including: higher energy density than traditional lithium-ion HEV cells while having one of the highest power to weight ratio of commercially available batteries; low impedance growth even at very high charge and discharge rates; outstanding calendar life; novel design that withstands extreme shocks and vibration; excellent performance over a wide temperature range; and an intrinsically safe chemistry.

Johnson Controls-Saft Advanced Power Solutions (JCS) also has been awarded a 24-month contract to develop advanced, lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries for hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) by the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC). (Earlier post.)

GM also will be actively looking for more partners to bring lithium-ion technology to production.

It's important to point out that these two agreements are by no means the only avenues we're pursuing. We are fully committed to forging the necessary partnerships to produce battery solutions that will meet our aggressive vehicle program targets.


GM Awards Lithium Ion Battery Development Contracts / 2 Suppliers Chosen to Work on Batteries for Saturn Vue Green Line Plug-in Hybrid SUV http://www.presseportal.de/­story.htx?nr=922622

Detroit - General Motors Corp. today announced it has awarded advanced battery development contracts to two suppliers to design and test lithium-ion batteries for use in the Saturn Vue Green Line plug-in hybrid SUV.

One contract has been awarded to Johnson Controls
- Saft Advanced Power Solutions, LLC, a joint venture between Tier 1 automotive supplier Johnson Controls and Saft. Another agreement was signed with Cobasys, based in Orion, Mich., a joint venture between Chevron Technology Ventures LLC, a subsidiary of Chevron Corp., and Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. Cobasys will work in partnership with A123Systems, a privately held company based in Watertown, Mass., to develop lithium-ion battery technology.

According to Denise Gray, GM's newly appointed director of hybrid energy storage systems, the companies will be challenged to prove the durability, reliability and potential cost at mass volumes of their technology.

"Thanks to critical relationships with the U.S. government, collaborative research with Ford and DaimlerChrysler under the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC), significant progress has been made in battery research," said Gray. "But a lot of testing and development is still needed. Together, with our suppliers, we intend to address the issues relating to thermal management, storage capacity, recharge times, driving range and cost reduction."

The two test batteries, one from Cobasys - A123Systems and the other from Johnson Controls - Saft, will be evaluated in prototype Saturn Vue Green Line plug-in hybrids beginning later this year. While both are lithium-ion batteries, the chemistry differs significantly. The suppliers also use unique methods in the design and assembling of the battery packs.

Johnson Controls, Inc., headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., had sales of $32 billion in fiscal year 2006 and employs approximately 136,000 people. Johnson Controls' power solutions business provides more than 110 million starter batteries globally each year. Saft, headquartered in Paris, employs 4,000 people and had annual sales of more than $700 million in 2005. Saft and Johnson Controls formed the battery joint venture last year. Now, more than 150 people work for the joint venture, based also in Milwaukee. Saft is a world leader in high performance batteries and has a decade of experience in lithium-ion development and manufacturing. Saft provided lithium-ion batteries for the Chevrolet Sequel fuel cell concept vehicle.

Cobasys has facilities in both Michigan and Ohio with approximately 400 employees dedicated to the design, manufacture and integration of advanced energy storage systems for both transportation and stationary power markets. Their headquarters features one of the world's largest Energy Storage System development and test facilities required for the validation of battery systems. Cobasys is presently supplying nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) systems for the Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid SUV and will be supplying NiMH systems for the 2007 Saturn Aura Green Line hybrid sedan.

A123Systems, which employs 250 people, was started in 2001 to commercialize technology developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). A123Systems has quickly grown to be one of the world's largest suppliers of high power lithium-ion batteries. By the end of 2007, A123Systems will have the annual capacity to make 20 million lithium-ion batteries for use power tools. It also sells batteries for stationary backup power, jet engine auxiliary power units and hybrid trucks and buses.

GM will be actively looking for more partners to bring lithium-ion technology to production. "It's important to point out that these two agreements are by no means the only avenues we're pursuing," Gray said. "We are fully committed to forging the necessary partnerships to produce battery solutions that will meet our aggressive vehicle program targets."

GM announced Nov. 29 at the 2006 Greater Los Angeles Auto Show its intention to produce a Saturn Vue Green Line plug-in hybrid that has the potential to achieve double the fuel efficiency of any current SUV. In addition to plug-in technology and a lithium-ion battery pack when ready, the Vue Green Line will use a modified version of GM's 2-mode hybrid system, powerful electric motors and highly efficient electronics to achieve significant increases in fuel economy.

GM is co-developing the 2-mode hybrid system with DaimlerChrysler and BMW Group for use in front-, rear- and four-wheel drive applications in an array of car and truck models. The 2-mode system debuts later this year in the Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon Hybrid SUVs.

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader for 75 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 318,000 people around the world. It has manufacturing operations in 33 countries and its vehicles are sold in 200 countries. In 2005, GM sold 9.17 million cars and trucks globally, up 2 percent and the second-highest total in the company's history. In Europe, GM sells its Opel, Vauxhall, Saab, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Corvette and Hummer ranges in over 30 markets. It operates 11 production and assembly facilities in eight countries and employs around 62,560 people. More information on GM and its products can be found at http://media.gmeurope.com and http://www.gmeurope.com.

Contacts: See URL for press release

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