News / USA

GM Volts to Top at Auto Show

US automaker emerges from bankruptcy to win North American Car of the Year

GM's Thomas Stephens accepts the North American Car of the Year Award for the Chevrolet Volt at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan on Jan. 10, 2011.
GM's Thomas Stephens accepts the North American Car of the Year Award for the Chevrolet Volt at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan on Jan. 10, 2011.
Rosanne Skirble

General Motors is making a comeback in a big way. The U.S. automaker has emerged from bankruptcy and was star of the 2010 North American Auto Show in Detroit this week. GM’s plug-in electric Chevrolet Volt was named North American Car of the Year.

The Volt can travel 64 kilometers on its rechargeable batteries before a gasoline generator kicks in to extend its range to more than 450 kilometers. GM thinks its next generation Volt can go even farther, with a superior battery that holds twice as much energy.

Longer lasting power

The company has signed a license agreement to use lithium-ion battery technology developed at Argonne National Laboratory, a government-funded research facility. General Motors Ventures President John Lauckner says the move has great potential for GM’s entire electric-product line from "pure battery electric vehicles, extended-range electric vehicles or plug-in hybrid vehicles."

Argonne National Laboratory's energy storage researchers investigate all stages of a battery from its basic chemistry, to engineering, to testing for performance and durability.
Argonne National Laboratory's energy storage researchers investigate all stages of a battery from its basic chemistry, to engineering, to testing for performance and durability.

The new technology is a composite cathode material, a combination of lithium and manganese oxides. The battery can store twice as much electricity as conventional lithium-ion batteries and would greatly extend vehicle range and reduce its cost, making electric cars more attractive to consumers looking for energy-efficient transport. Lauckner says the cutting-edge technology is very promising. "The idea is that we want to get it on the road for the next generation of battery packs that come out in vehicles that General Motors offers around the world."

Equally hopeful is Mohamed Alamgir, research director for LG Chem, GM’s electric-car battery supplier. LG Chem, which also signed agreements with Argonne, is building a new factory and it expects mass production to begin next year.

Alamgir says refinements to the technology are still being made. "We are trying to increase the specific energy and the life of the battery and lower the cost. We are also doing a lot of work to improve, modify and tailor our chemistry to address those concerns and these broad set of patents give us the flexibility to carry out that work."

Closing competitive gap in electric car market

The new composite cathode could give GM a boost in its attempt to catch up to Asian automakers who currently dominate the electric car market.

Cathy Zoi, Acting under secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy says government investment in research and development and applied commercialization can pay off in economic growth and job creation. "DOE has invested about $400 million over more than a decade to support electric drive batteries and today we’re seeing a lot of return on these investments. In fact, the battery technology in almost all of the electric vehicles and hybrids on the road today were developed with DOE support."

In 2008 the U.S. manufactured just two percent of the world’s advanced batteries. Zoi expects that number to skyrocket. "By 2015 we’ll produce up to 40 percent, equivalent to 500,000 electric-drive vehicles per year. And that’s just fantastic."

Zoi adds that developing the electric car and other clean-energy industries will also help cut U.S. dependence on foreign oil and put the brakes on climate-changing carbon pollution.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid