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GM Exec: Of More Than 20 Million Cells Produced For Volt, <2 Problems Per Million

A study of Chevy Volt owners with vehicles featuring batteries supplied by LG Chem has found that there’s been nearly no loss of range/performance even after 3 years of ownership, according to the vice president of transmissions and electrification at GM, Larry Nitz.

While that comment is noteworthy enough on its own, Nitz made several other very interesting comments as well, including this one: “We’ve seen what I would call pharmaceutical levels of quality in cell production. Of the more than 20 million cells that have been produced for the first generation Chevrolet Volt, we’ve seen less than 2 problems per million cells produced.”


That’s really quite an amazing figure, all things considered. It came as part of recent coverage of a report from Lux Research that predicts that the electric vehicle (EV) battery market will grow to more than $30 billion a year by 2020 — up from the ~$5 billion it’s at currently.

Here’s more on that, from Ecomento (h/t Bob Wallace):

LG Chem supplies batteries to General Motors, Renault, Volvo, Daimler, and Volkswagen. It currently has just 11% of the world market but is expected to increase market share going forward. It has won several new contracts lately, including Audi, which is serious about building cars to compete with Tesla Model S sedan, Model X SUV, and Model 3 small sedan.

Panasonic is the top battery maker, supplying Tesla Motors Inc, Volkswagen, and Ford Motor Company. It supplied 38% of the electric vehicle batteries over the past 12 months, according to Lux, and likely will continue to grow if Tesla’s sales go higher.

On that count, things could change quite rapidly over the next year or so as the Gigafactory comes online. Presuming that Tesla sales rise as fast as CEO Elon Musk has predicted, though, the Gigafactory capacity won’t be enough to meet demand, and reliance on Panasonic could well increase. The stated aim of Musk, though, is for there to be hundreds or thousands of gigafactories — so who knows what the future holds?

Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.


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