[ad#post_ad]GM has indicated for some time that it plans to make future generation lithium-ion battery packs for the Volt less expensive to reduce the overal price of the car.

In early interviews executives explained that GM would remove costly redundant systems to improve the pack's cost.  Drops in lithium ion wholesale cell prices would also contribute to cost reduction.

Nick Reilly who is GM's chief of Opel unveiled to Edmunds.com some radical new methods GM plans to employ.

He explained that the first generation Voltec packs have been designed in a hard-to-remove T-shape particularly for crash safety protection.  Realizing this was excessive, by the third generation GM will use a lighter more easily swappable shape.

Furthermore, he added, the future packs would be designed to last "significantly less" than the 10 years the current packs are intended to operate.  GM has determined replacing packs after 10 years won't likely be attractive to consumers, considering how old the rest of the car would be.

By reducing the batteries operational life expectancy the packs would be significantly less expensive as their health (thermal) maintenance systems could be simplified.  Since they would also be shaped for easy removal, when they reached the end of their vehicular lifetime they could simply be replaced at a time the rest of the car remained desirable.

Reilly also said GM will offer consumers different optional pack sizes providing varying ranges.  This way buyers on the lowest budget could opt for the smallest lowest range battery which would cost the least. Batteries with larger ranges don't seem likely.

"We don’t need more range, there’s no point in going from 40 to 80 miles," Joe LoGrasso, a GM battery engineer told Autocar . "The cost of the batteries is crucial though. We have to have a value proposition for the customer, if not they will not buy it."

Reilly also noted Opel will offer nultiple Voltec vehicles including those positioned both above the Ampera like the Flextreme GT/E and those below it.

A line of pure electric cars will arrive as well.

Source ( Inside Line )