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Chevrolet Volt batteries could enable renewable energy solutions

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General Motors and ABB Group will work together to develop pilot projects for re-using the batteries from the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle, examining whether the batteries may be a source for renewable energy that could improve the effectiveness of wind and solar power generation.

The opportunity is the basis of a memorandum of understanding signed between General Motors and ABB Group.

The two companies are collaborating to determine how the Volt's 16-kWh lithium-ion batteries can be used to provide stationary electric grid storage systems once the batteries have fulfilled their usefulness in customers' vehicles.

The ultimate goal is to provide cost-effective, innovative solutions that will improve the efficiency of the country's electrical grid.

"The Volt's battery will have significant capacity to store electrical energy, even after its automotive life," said Micky Bly, GM Executive Director of Electrical Systems, Hybrids, Electric Vehicles and Batteries. "That's why we're joining forces with ABB to find ways to enable the Volt batteries to provide environmental benefits that stretch far beyond the highway."

Bly announced the partnership Tuesday at the EV Battery Tech conference here. "Our relationship with ABB will help develop solutions that optimize the full lifecycle of the Volt battery," Bly said. The Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range will provide customers with a standard, eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on its advanced, lithium-ion battery. It is the automotive industry's longest, most comprehensive battery warranty for an electric vehicle, and is transferable at no cost to other vehicle owners.

The Volt's comprehensive battery warranty covers all 161 battery components, 95 percent of which are designed and engineered by GM, in addition to the thermal management system, charging system and electric drive components.

ABB is the world's largest supplier of power grid systems and a leader in power and automation technologies. Their technologies enable utilities and industry to improve performance, while reducing their environmental impact.

"Future smart grids will incorporate a larger proportion of renewable energy sources and will need to supply a vast e-mobility infrastructure - both of which require a wide range of energy storage solutions," said Bazmi Husain, head of ABB's smart grids initiative. "We are excited to explore the possibility of employing electric car batteries in a second use that could help build needed storage capacity and provide far-reaching economic and environmental benefits."

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