A GM spokesman said last week that a report about an 80-mile next-generation battery for the Chevy Volt was erroneous. Rob Peterson of GM told us that such reports needed to be “toned down” and assured us that the Volt still has a 40-mile range for the foreseeable future.
“I’m familiar with the two companies involved and they completely overstated their involvement in the Volt,” Peterson said. “They’ve worked with our advanced materials group in a true R&D sense. But while they are connected to General Motors and are big fans of the Volt, they are not part of the Volt program.”
The misunderstanding started after an independent website reported in a headline “Next-Generation Chevy Volt Might Have 80-Mile Electric Range With Same
Battery.” The site’s story said that two companies – Applied Sciences, Inc. and Pyrograf Products Inc. – are already on GM’s payroll and are partnering “on the fabrication of carbon nanofibers that will be used in place of the current graphite material” on the Volt. The site added that the new design would “double” the Volt’s electric-only range.
The latest situation is hardly the first time that battery vendors have been accused of overstatement. In the 1990s, several battery manufacturers said they were on the verge of creating batteries with 400-mile ranges and 15-minute recharge times. By the end of the ‘90s, however, the best EV batteries were pushing to reach 100 miles with six-hour recharge times.
Peterson said, however, that GM’s work with the two companies “does demonstrate that we see battery technology as so important that we continue to monitor it, and work with different companies to advance our battery solutions.”