The head of General Motors, Mary Barra, recently confirmed during a conference call with her shareholders that the battery of the next Chevrolet Bolt will be composed of lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) cells.
This type of battery, also used by Ford and Tesla among others, is significantly less expensive to produce than the commonly used nickel-manganese-cobalt batteries due to the fact that it does not use cobalt or nickel in its manufacture. It is also more durable by tolerating a greater number of cycles and recharge power before showing signs of deterioration. On the other hand, these batteries perform less well in cold weather and can store less energy, Ford said last February when announcing their use in the Mustang Mach-E and the F-150 Lightning.
Barra specified that this shift towards an LFP battery will shorten the development period by two years while ensuring savings “billions of dollars”. The cost of assembling each copy will also be “significantly lower”, she also stressed. In 2016, the Bloomberg agency revealed that GM expected to lose between US$8,000 and US$9,000 per assembled Chevrolet Bolt.
This choice of battery is therefore made with a view to profitability and undoubtedly to maintain the affordability of the compact which will benefit from the much more modern Ultium electric platform.
The CEO of GM also said that this new Bolt will allow “a better driving, charging and use experience”. This seems promising, if the starting price is obviously competitive.