Here's one way to get more use out of a retired Volt battery ...

As General Motors works on secondary uses for the Chevrolet Volt battery a recent opportunity came up to nab a Guinness World Record in Canada.

At the Pan American Games in Toronto, from July 17-27, a record 4,739 people pedaled bikes to generate electricity into a Volt’s battery.

The record title: the most number of people generating electricity in one week.

The purpose: participants at the Chevrolet Power of Play exhibit in CIBC Pan Am Park raced family and friends head-to-head on a 1,038 foot competitive marathon slot car track. Participants controlled the speed of the cars and charged the batteries by riding on six stationary bicycles, generating electricity with their own pedal power.

The 4,739 people generated more than 13,000 watt hours over the course of the week. That amount of energy is enough to power a Volt for (just) 37 miles (60 km), but the idea was to draw popular attention to an otherwise serious topic.

“We wanted to use our Power of Play demonstration not only to offer a fun, interactive way for fans to have their own friendly competition, but also to put our technology in the record books,” said Hossein Hassani, Director of Enterprise Marketing for General Motors of Canada. “Power of Play has been an illustration of the potential secondary uses for the batteries in Chevrolet Volt electric vehicles, as well as a means to test how renewable energy sources can generate stored electricity while minimizing environmental impact.”

We more-often hear of what’s happening in places like the Milford Proving Grounds, but this application of Chevrolet’s secondary use battery technology is part of work taking place at General Motor’s Canadian Engineering Centre in Oshawa.

The Volt batteries used were ones that have exceeded their eight-to-ten-year lifespan on the road – obviously not in a lineral chronological fashion, as the Volt is only 4 years old.

Perhaps these were hammered test batteries? GM of Canada does not say in a statement observing the record.

What is said is even after the end of that lifespan, they have 50 to 70 percent capacity remaining.

“That capacity can be used to provide backup power, peak rate shaving and renewable energy storage for both commercial and non-commercial uses, and it can deliver waste reductions and economic benefits on an industrial scale,” observes the automaker.

Beyond fun applications, GM and others are working on what to do with batteries that are naturally expired from road use. Included in these are energy storage and backup aqppliications.

“Building sustainable modes of transportation is vital to moving to a low-carbon future. We are pleased to see that Chevrolet and GM of Canada are taking a leadership role in developing electric cars and sustainable battery technology through engineering work done right here in Ontario,” said Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.

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