We’ve got some potentially big news out of Rumor Land. According to the rumor, GM could be working on a long-range electric vehicle that would actually have twice the energy density of the Tesla Model S.
Jeff Cobb of HybridCars.com writes: “at the annual conference of Canada’s Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, GM’s head of global R&D let his guard down slightly in saying prototype electric cars now being evaluated on U.S. test tracks have triple the energy density of a Chevrolet Volt, and close to double that of a Tesla Model S.”
“Today there are prototypes out there with 400 Watt-hours per kilogram,” said Dr. J. Gary Smyth, executive director of Global Research and Development, General Motors Company.
Cobb hypothesizes that the referenced batteries are Envia batteries. Certainly, Envia’s batteries are on of the top “potentially breakthrough” types of batteries I’m keeping an eye on.
Why would Cobb think the reference is to Envia? Perhaps because of the 400 Wh/kg figure. The first thing you see when you head to the Envia website is this:
And here are some more screenshots:
Here’s more from Cobb:
Smyth added the mystery batteries will cost much less than batteries in today’s electric cars and they’ll have a “big impact” on the auto industry and “it completely changes the equation” on cost, range, and vehicle packaging.
“We’re putting a lot of effort into developing battery cells,” Smyth told Vander Doelen in the post-meeting interview.
When asked whether U.S. test cars he spoke of actually belonged to GM, Smyth neither confirmed nor denied, and instead deflected by saying merely that most such test vehicles are being sponsored by government agencies.
Hmm, a lot of grey area there. However, it is known that GM and Envia are working together in some way, and also that GM has invested in Envia through its GM Ventures arm. You connect the dots.
We’ll see how long it takes GM and Envia to get a long-range EV using Envia’s potentially breakthrough batteries to market… assuming they will. My guess would be within 3–5 years.