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GM, ABB Group Exploring Ways to Reuse Volt Batteries

September 21, 2010

TROY, MI - General Motors and ABB Group will work together to develop pilot projects for reusing the batteries from the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle. This effort will include examining whether the batteries may be a source for renewable energy that could improve the effectiveness of wind and solar power generation. 

The pilot projects are the subject of a memorandum of understanding signed between GM and ABB Group, a Swiss power technologies company.

The two companies are collaborating to determine how the Volt's 16-kWh lithium-ion batteries can be used to provide stationary electric grid storage systems once the batteries have fulfilled their usefulness in customers' vehicles, GM said. The ultimate goal is to provide cost-effective, innovative solutions that will improve the efficiency of the country's electrical grid. 

"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's why we're joining forces with ABB to find ways to enable the Volt batteries to provide environmental benefits that stretch far beyond the highway." 

Bly announced the partnership Sept. 21 at the EV Battery Tech conference in Troy, Mich.

"Our relationship with ABB will help develop solutions that optimize the full lifecycle of the Volt battery," Bly said. The Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range will provide customers with a standard, eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on its advanced lithium-ion battery.

The Volt's battery warranty covers all 161 battery components, 95 percent of which are designed and engineered by GM, in addition to the thermal management system, charging system and electric drive components.

ABB is a major supplier of power grid systems and a leader in power and automation technologies. Its technologies enable utilities and industry to improve performance, while reducing their environmental impact. 

"Future smart grids will incorporate a larger proportion of renewable energy sources and will need to supply a vast e-mobility infrastructure -- both of which require a wide range of energy storage solutions," said Bazmi Husain, head of ABB's smart grids initiative. "We are excited to explore the possibility of employing electric car batteries in a second use that could help build needed storage capacity and provide far-reaching economic and environmental benefits."

Engineers and researchers from both companies are working together to study:  

  • Renewable Energy Storage: Power generated by wind and the sun can be stored in Volt battery systems and used when demand warrants.
  • Grid Load Management: Utilities will be able to use the Volt batteries to store electricity generated during off-peak periods to supplement demand during high-peak operation. This will help utilities to better manage the grid, improving reliability and efficiency.
  • Back-up Power Supplies for Communities: Volt battery systems can store electricity that can be used by communities during power outages caused by storms or other natural disasters.
  • Time of Use Management: Industrial customers can store off-peak, lower-priced electrical power in Volt batteries for use during peak demand time of day for cost savings. 
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