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GM: Volt Pack Now “Hundreds” Less than $1,000/kWh; Headed to $250/kWh

In a response to a recent study by researchers at CMU on the cost-effectiveness of different sizes of battery packs for plug-in hybrids (earlier post), Jon Lauckner, GM Vice President Global Program Management, wrote on the GM Fastlane Blog that the current cost of the Volt Li-ion packs is “many hundreds of dollars per kWh” lower than the $1,000 kWh figure used in the study.

Moreover, our battery team is already starting work on new concepts that will further decrease the cost of the Volt battery pack quite substantially in a second-generation Volt pack. Unfortunately, the impact of dramatically lower battery costs (to $250 per kWh) was treated only as a “sensitivity” in the CMU study when it probably should have been highlighted as THE critical element that would dramatically change the cost-effectiveness of plug-ins with greater electric-only range.

...The bottom line is there isn’t anything in this study that would change the decisions we made for the Chevy Volt. We think a plug-in offering 40 miles of gas- and emissions-free driving like the Volt is the sweet spot for the majority of customers because nearly 80 percent of drivers can drive their daily commute and return home for an overnight recharge that avoids inconvenience for them and additional daytime load on the electric grid.

Actually, as I read the conclusions of the study I had a feeling of déjà vu. Some years ago, GM didn’t introduce hybrid technology as quickly as we should have because it wasn’t considered “cost effective” at the time—and we aren’t going to make that mistake again. In fact, the more vehicles powered by the Voltec system we can put on the road, the faster we’ll see the costs for batteries, power electronics and electric drive motors come down due to economies of scale and innovation. This will lead to even greater adoption of plug-ins and a new way forward for our industry.



Good to see GM confirming that the price is already several hundreds of USD below 1000/kWh. To claim USD 1000 /kWh appears silly when the retail price of LiFePO4 currently is USD 514/kWh. See for example
Packing, cooling system and battery management system add to the price but it can’t be much.


Yup, BYD are already below $300 per kWh for their LiFePO4.

Incidentally, the major breakthrough in cost reductions for PHEV battery packs will actually come from using cells that permit 90%+ SOC utilisation, rather than the 50% SOC utilisation that GM is going with right now (understandably erring on the side of longevity for this 1st gen offering).

That would cut PHEV battery pack costs almost in half at a stroke.


LOL GM is delusional. How much is 40 miles a day, for 52 weeks worth as a premium over a Prius? I'd say about $500 a year. 2010 Prius MSPR $23500. Volt has got the be way south of $30000.


The Volt will get a $7,500 tax rebate though. Prius won't.

When the packs are $250 per kWh and 90% utilisation, a 40-mile range pack will only add $2,000 to the car.


dursun, we don't know standard equipment on the Volt...and the MSRP of the Prius may be close to $23,000 but it can easily and quite quickly get over $30,000 with options.


There's a difference between a Volt and a Prius (beyond pricing)... the prius is a hybrid whereas the volt is an EV.
When the economy revives and gas prices soar, people will want the volt.


This is exactly what we already knew.

The real issue is how long the depression will last and if gm can weather it. Gas prices wont climb unless people drive more and so far even with low gas costs people dont seem to be doing so. Instead people are saving. Now this sort of thing happened to japan and its 10 years later and still things are messed up.

The Goracle

My electric rates doubled over the past four years. Not exactly a bargain any more. With the Obama administration wanting to increase taxes on energy usage expect electric rates to continue to skyrocket.

Forget both the hybrid and EV. My 1981 diesel VW Rabbit pickup gets 50 mpg highway and uses free fuel from my local Chinese food restaurant. Oh, and the car cost me $2500.


That is the big issue...can GM last long enough to get the Volt to production and can the production last long enough to turn a profit. As the Zen master said "we will see".


"That is the big issue...can GM last long enough to get the Volt to production and..."

Golly! I dunno! It's like, an episodic cliff hanger! Tune in next week kids to see the exciting conclusion! And um, don't forget to purchase your carbon credits for TV viewing ;)


Goracle - I think you were meaning to post on, since you are advocating an '81 Rabbit diesel, or maybe More CO and HC than the entire Costco parking lot at idle, and five "blackholes" crash rating.

Are you serious or just raising sarcasm to a new level?

Henry Gibson

CO and HC are soon converted to smog.

What is the crash rating of the highly reccomended bicycle.

What is the crash rating of a motorcycle? Can a baby's car seat be mounted on them.

GM could have put the ZEBRA battery into mass production ten years ago and got a cost in a similar range. The electric range of such a vehicle would match that of most lithium batteries sold and would be less dangeous and easier to cool.

GE is now going to make the battery. Now that GM is government owned, any EV1s should be reactivated and operated on ZEBRA batteries. Much government money was already wasted by the destruction of nearly all of them just to prevent the discovery that electric cars could work well for people. Battery technology sold to an oil company demanded the destruction of these machines. When the EV1 was destroyed, long range ZEBRA batteries were already available and tested. ..HG.

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