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General Motors’ New Chevy Spark EV Battery to be Built In-House

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Chevy Spark's new battery pack to produced in General Motors' Brownstown, Michigan, plant.
Chevy Spark’s new battery pack to produced in General Motors’ Brownstown, Michigan, plant.

The 2014 Chevy Spark EV is powered by a 20 kWh lithium-ion battery, which General Motors has been outsourcing until now.

The Chevy Spark EV was only the beginning of General Motors’ foray into modern electric vehicles, and a good start at that, even beating its conventional sister in Consumer Reports’ estimation. The lithium-ion battery packs were being produced by LG Chem, but that deal’s been going on for only a year or so. General Motors engineers, I’m figuring, have improved on the design and technology enough that they now want to bring battery manufacturing in-house, starting with the 2015 Chevy Spark EV.

LG Chem will still produce the lithium-ion rechargeable battery cells, but the design has been improved significantly. For the 2015 Chevy Spark EV, the new 19 kWh battery will use 192 LG Chem cells, which are produced in Holland, Michigan. The battery will be assembled in General Motors’ plant, in Brownstown, Michigan, the same plant where Chevy Volt, Opel Ampera, and Cadillac ELR battery packs are being manufactured already.

Chevy Spark EV’s new battery pack is lighter, by 86 lb, and more efficient than that in the 2014 model, but the EPA-rated range and efficiency still stands at 82 mi and 119 MPGe. I guess we’ll have to wait to see some real-world numbers to see if the 86-lb weight loss program and efficiency improvements will be reflected in improved range and efficiency, or not.

Personally, I would rather have seen the extra 86 lb used to expand the Chevy Spark EV’s range. The old 20 kWh lithium-ion battery pack weighed in at 560 lb, for 35.7 Wh/lb, while the new 19 kWh battery weighs just 474 lb, containing 40.1 Wh/lb. If General Motors had kept the same weight battery with the new design, perhaps we could have been looking at a 22.4 kWh battery and 100 miles range? Perhaps not, as the extra weight surely comes into play.

Image © General Motors

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