Chevy Volt battery pack could hit a snag

GM's Chevy Volt electric car is said to be on track for its late 2010 delivery date, but there might be a problem or two with the batteries. The nearly 300 lithium ion batteries will be strapped together in a tight group between the seats, and while GM engineers are confident the individual batteries work, they're not sure how long they'll last or if they'll overheat when they work together in a pack.

GM has also not decided if the batteries will be made in the U.S., or in Asia, where battery tech is more advanced, said GM chief Rick Wagoner in Washington yesterday. He was visiting the nation's capitol, seeking $25 billion in loans from the U.S. government to help his company build advanced-tech vehicles (might as well get while the getting's good, eh Rick?).

Anyway, will drivers in hot climates such as Arizona be able to buy a Volt? GM will insulate and cool the batteries, but how much power will that drain? The Volt's battery pack is a huge risk for GM, and might push the car's price to $40K and beyond. And it's not ready yet. Nevertheless, we're rooting for you, GM!

Technology Review, and The Washington Post