GM to speed up plug-in electric car battery development

General Motors Corp. has awarded two contracts to companies that will help speed development of its plug-in electric car called the Chevrolet Volt, GM Chairman Rick Wagoner said Tuesday.

The contracts to design and test lithium-ion batteries went to Michigan-based Compact Power Inc. and to Continental Automotive systems, Wagoner said.

“Given the huge potential that the Volt and its E-flex system offers to lower oil consumption, lower oil imports and reduce carbon gas emissions, this is for sure a top priority program for GM,” said Wagoner, who added that the company is trying to produce the Volt as soon as it can.

The Volt, unveiled in January at the Detroit auto show, has a battery-powered electric motor that can run the car for up to 40 city miles on a single charge. Beyond that, a gasoline-powered, one-liter, three-cylinder engine can generate electricity to replenish the battery, giving the car a range of up to 640 miles, GM said.

Source  Associated Press

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