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Chevy Volt Battery Life Expectancy- Replacing Cost and Degradation
The Chevrolet Volt is a range-extended car that was manufactured and initially launched by General Motors in 2011. It is a plug-in hybrid compact car. It was manufactured as an electric car that can also use gasoline. A Chevy volt vehicle has two batteries: a 12-volt battery that powers the electronics and a lithium-ion battery that powers the electric motor. The Chevy also has three power converting elements; primary traction electric motor, secondary traction electric motor, and the internal combustion engine. The Primary traction electric motor runs solely on battery power. This power provides good acceleration for driving at lower speeds and a regenerative braking system. The Secondary electric motor assists the primary motor. Lastly, the internal combustion engine is engaged when the batteries in the Chevy reach a predetermined level.
Let's take a look at how much it costs to replace a Chevys battery, what happens when the battery dies, and the life expectancy of Chevy's battery.
How much does it cost to replace the battery in a Chevy volt?There is a lot of misconception going on about the wear and tear of Chevy's batteries and how frequently one needs to replace them. Most people have been led to believe you have to change the battery after every few years, which is not the case. Chevrolet's representatives have also stated that the loss in battery capacity is unlikely to occur due to normal wear and tear. This is because the loss of battery capacity occurs when there is damage to it or it crashes, which will warrant a repair or replacement.
Therefore, you may find yourself never replacing the battery due to wear and tear.
What is the cost?The battery pack of electric and hybrid cars is often priced by the per kilowatt-hour. According to the General Motors Parts online price tag, a 16KWh battery in the Volt accumulates a replacement cost of $144.11 per kilowatt-hour. This claim is refuted by GM Manager of Electrification Technology Communications Kevin Kelly, who states that they would normally not charge any costs on replacement when the battery is within the 8years/100,000-mile warranty. GM would charge you replacement costs when your battery is beyond the eight years warranty, and this cost will vary and depend on what needs to be replaced or repaired.
Honestly, the cost of replacing a chevy volt's battery after 100,000 miles greatly varies as it depends on what you need to replace( a single cell or the whole battery pack), how long you have had your battery and where you go to replace the battery. You may also need to consider the power, size, and quality of your battery, which makes the prices range from as low as $250 and as high as $30,000. With all these factors considered, it makes it hard to set a standard price as a single price tag can not apply to all Chevy owners.
Hence, no one knows how much it costs to replace Chevy's battery.
What happens when the Chevy Volt battery dies?For you to know what will happen when Chevy's battery dies, you have to first understand how it works.
i.How does a Chevys battery work?
The Chevy Volt comes equipped with a lithium-ion battery pack that allows the vehicle to drive up to 60 miles on a full charge. The battery powers the electric motors by delivering electricity to the electric drive unit.
Once the battery power gets low, the Chevy automatically switches to the gas-powered generator to continuously provide power and keep the car going. This generator runs on regular gasoline, thus providing extra mileage for the car. Depending on the EV model you have, the engine switch provides a total range of up to 450 miles on a full tank and full battery before you have to charge your battery or fuel your tank.
ii.What if the battery dies?
When the battery pack is depleted, you will still be able to drive your car without plugging it while operating on gasoline alone. This is because the range-extending engine seamlessly turns on to a gas-powered generator to power the vehicle for another 350-450 miles. This is greatly advantageous as you will not be left stranded on the side of the road. However, if the main battery is dead, you will not be able to drive your car until the battery is charged to some degree enough to activate the gas engine.
GM designed the car in such a way that it is extremely difficult to discharge the battery pack completely. As a driver, you will get a lot of warnings on the screen when your battery is nearly depleted. To avoid a dead battery and loss of propulsion, it is advisable to refill your tank when you have low gasoline and get such warnings.
What is the life expectancy of a Chevy volt battery?This is a big question to any new buyer or existing user of a Chevy Volt. According to an interview conducted by The Drive to Bill Wallace, the Director of Global Battery Systems Engineering at General Motors, he gives an estimated battery life of 10 years, 150,000miles and 6,000cycles of Chevy's found in extremely hot climates such as Phoenix. For us to understand the life expectancy of the battery, let us have an overview of Chevy's battery build.
The Volt uses a lithium-ion battery pack that has an aluminum plate sandwiched between the lithium-ion cells. This design was critical as it ensures even temperature dispersal on the battery and prevents situations where there are high or low-temperature spots on the battery. The battery pack has its cooling system, which is similar to the engine cooling system but independent from it.
Due to the sensitive nature of batteries to temperatures, the Volt has its thermal management system. This active liquid cooling system monitors and maintains the temperature of the cell for durability and effective performance.
The Chevy's battery is not used to its full capacity. The battery pack stores 16KWh of energy, but it is controlled by the energy management system to only use 10KWh of the total capacity to maximize its life. This feature ensures that the battery is never overcharged or 0depleted hence giving it an extended lifespan.
The Chevys battery has a warranty of 8years/100,000miles. General Motors gives an estimate of about 10% to 30% degradation on the battery when it hits the 8years mark or 100000 miles.
Final ThoughtsThe Chevy Volt has been well received to be a practical, efficient and comfortable ride since its inception. Despite the vehicle's rise in popularity, Volts face a lot of misinformation more concerning the batteries. Whether you are an owner of a Chevy or you are considering making it your next investment, I hope you find the information provided helpful.