Armor Plate a Big Winner in Hybrid Technology

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Type in the words Li-ion batteries and you will find a series of articles all leading to this one written by John Petersen and published in Seeking Alpha on March 23. And the subject of the article is fascinating: How Cheap Beat Cool in the Chevy Volt. By cheap, the author refers to the fact that GM has selected, Li-ion batteries with prices in the $600 to $700 per kWh range as opposed to the $1,300 to $2,000 per kWh range.  The article goes on to say that the battery will come from a Li-polymer chemistry instead of the more expensive Li-phosphate or Li-titonate.

But Li-polymer, has its share of challenges. The first problem relates to its safety record (it does not do so well in cell phones and lap tops) Li-polymers also appear to have a shorter product life cycle than their higher cost alternatives. So GM looked at the various alternatives and came up with a workaround, a T-shaped battery pack that sits in front of the rear axle and runs forward through the space that used to be taken up by the driveshaft. That 400-pound battery pack is made of armor plate!

Take a look at Lithium ion batteries or Li-polymers and armor plate and little public information exists on the subject. If someone were to ask us to guess what type of armor plate covers these new batteries on the Volt, we’d guess aluminum due to its significant weight advantage over steel. Unfortunately, we can’t seem to find much data. It’s time to start talking to our friends in the automotive industry!

–Lisa Reisman

Comments (4)

  1. kerry bradshaw says:

    Lisa doesn’t know what she’s talking about – the li polymer batteries do not have a habit of exploding or anything else. Their main drawback is their inability to continue should one cell check out. And the “more expensive” li phosphate lost out for other reasons, as did the weak (and extraordinarilly expensive) li titanate chemistry, which has attracted zero
    EV makers (aside from the captured “phoenix Motors” a non-automaker). Therre were no cost significant differences between the li phosphate and li polymer designs that GM evaluated – li phosphate builders claimed a halving of pricing within a few years. And the li phosphate batteries showed no advantage in lifespan either, a big issue with GM’s 10 year battery warranty. This is all likely to be water under the bridge with the advent of MIT doping, which promises to destroy the li titanate technology as hopelessly expensive while equaling its recharge rates.

  2. admin says:

    Take it easy Kerry. This article came from the site Seeking Alpha. I’m not a battery expert and never claimed to be one. In fact, all of the discussion on the actual battery selected (and rationale) came from that Seeking Alpha article. I’m just commenting on the [positive] impact it will have on the metals industry, specifically the armor plate. Lisa

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