General Motors has signed contracts with Johnson Controls—Saft Advanced Power Solutions, LLC, and Cobasys for development of lithium-ion battery technology for use in the Saturn Vue Green Line plug-in hybrid. Testing will begin later this year to determine whether the battery technology will meet GM’s durability, performance and power requirements, with the project wrapping up at the end of 2007. GM has not announced when it will produce the Vue plug-in hybrid, but says finding the right battery technology is a critical piece of making the vehicle a reality.
“Through this calendar year we have a set plan of tests that we need to run to determine whether we’re moving in the right direction,” said Denise Gray, GM’s director of hybrid energy storage systems. “We will be looking at overall life, durability, power abuse and integration from a design standpoint to make sure that we have the best plug-in hybrid system.” The two partners have been working with GM and other automakers as part of the U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium, a project developed under the auspices of the U.S. Council for Automotive Research. Each will provide batteries that are proprietary in terms of the chemical composition, assembly and design.
Once testing is completed, GM will then decide whether to select one of the two batteries presented, or move on to other technologies. “This does not imply that either one of these are our production intent,” Gray said. “What this does is allow us to do our homework to help us understand what the solutions are. We will also be in a better position to understand our optimization requirements.”—KMK