Cadillac boasts battery system

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: January 22, 2013 3:55 pm ET
Updated: January 22, 2013 4:16 pm ET

Image By: General Motors Co. A structural view of the 2014 Cadillac ELR highlights the T-shaped lithium-ion battery system.

Related to this story

Topics Automotive, Automotive parts, Automotive/transportation, Injection Molding

DETROIT — General Motors Co. introduced its take on the electric car to the auto market with its Chevrolet Volt — and the Volt's award-winning lithium-ion battery system.

Now GM is taking the Volt's electric drive upstream in the 2014 Cadillac ELR, while still boasting of the system's ability to ease an electric-car driver's "range anxiety."

The ELR, introduced Jan. 15 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, combines the plug-in electric drive battery system with a backup gasoline-powered generator, allowing car drivers to get up to 300 miles out of their cars.

ELR will use the same electric vehicle architecture as the Chevy Volt, including its 135 individual, prismatic, lithium-ion battery cells, in which each cell is housed inside an injection molded frame. Each battery pack uses 37 pounds of plastics.

As part of a Cadillac product, the architecture also will become part of a key marketing element by getting electric power into a new class of vehicles — luxury cars.

"We're bringing it to a whole new audience," said Hampden Tener, product director with Cadillac.

The Volt — like its European counterpart, the Opel Ampera — and competitors like Nissan's Leaf have been marketed as being commuter cars for families. The all-electric Tesla, meanwhile, is a sports car, although Tesla will bring out a sedan later this year.

The ELR brings all the traditional luxury car styling and details with leather seats, navigation systems, wood and carbon- fiber interior trim and LED headlights; but, the ELR also allows environmentally minded premium-car buyers to drive 35 miles solely on electric power. The on-board generator kicks in after that to power the batteries, bringing total mileage up to 300 miles.

"Part of the selling feature for Cadillac is that there are no compromises, and with the [electric architecture], there are no compromises on driving range either," Tener said.

GM has added regenerative braking to the ELR to help it cover the usage demands of the additional electronics on board a Cadillac.

The Volt power system has had its detractors, but GM sold more than 23,000 of them in 2012, up from 7,600 in 2011. By comparison, Corvette — GM's other low-volume, high-visibility vehicle — sold about 14,000 vehicles in 2012.

"Technology like this always has to build itself up first," said James Peterson, market development manager for polyurethane systems at BASF Corp. Florham Park, N.J.-based BASF supplies the nylon used by Mann + Hummel GmbH to mold the lithium-ion battery frames. "The challenge right now is to combine the technology at a price that justifies it."

Although Detroit-based GM has not announced a price yet for the ELR, which will go on sale in early 2014, the higher price point for a Cadillac compared to a Chevrolet should help with the production costs on the electric drivetrain.

More exposure for GM's powertrain system, along with plug-in and hybrid electric vehicles throughout the auto industry, will continue to build comfort for alternatives to traditional internal combustion engines, added Mark Minnichelli, director of technology and development for engineering plastics at BASF.


Comments

Cadillac boasts battery system

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: January 22, 2013 3:55 pm ET
Updated: January 22, 2013 4:16 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Report: Suspected former Nazi with plastic connection collecting Social Security

October 20, 2014 3:52 pm ET

AKRON, OHIO — A one-time plastics executive in Akron is among dozens of suspected former Nazis who have been collecting U.S. Social Security...    More

Ford shrinks its supplier 'watch list'

October 20, 2014 1:35 pm ET

Ford purchasing chief Hau Thai-Tang says suppliers are starting to invest in additional production capacity because they think the recovery is real.    More

Molder expands in France with new clean room

October 20, 2014 1:30 pm ET

Global Closure Systems (GCS), a global injection molding producer, showed off its new ISO 7 clean room at its Astra Plastique factory in France...    More

Image

Material Insights: Fakuma puts the spotlight on medical and automotive-related materials news

October 20, 2014 10:13 am ET

Editor Don Loepp and senior reporter Frank Esposito break down all the materials-related news from the Fakuma trade fair in Friedrichshafen, Germany.    More

Molder goes to auction block

October 17, 2014 12:17 pm ET

An Illinois custom injection molding operation will be auctioned off after its owner decided to close the business.    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events