LG Chem- - the Unsung Hero For Chevrolet’s Bolt EV and a Great Example of Collaboration

The Chevrolet Bolt’s 238 mile range rating by the EPA this week is certainly exciting news. It represents the first automaker (besides Tesla) to produce a vehicle that can go beyond 200 miles. It also represents the first “affordable” EV (starting at $37,500) with over 200 miles of EV range.

While the range on the Chevrolet Bolt is very impressive, the car also brims with other innovative technology: customizable infotainment screen (hardware and software designed by LG), surround vision (allowing a bird’s eye view of the vehicle), rear camera view (which eliminates the blind spots when the driver backs up the vehicle), 4G data sharing, and Apple Carplay/Android Auto connectivity. Journalists were surprised by the car’s agile feel and verve on pre-production units. 0-60 mph is expected at 7 seconds. The vehicle may not be as sleek as the upcoming Tesla Model 3, but Bolt’s mission is about everyday usability in a CUV format that allows for maximum utility.

While Chevrolet and GM have received tremendous limelight and kudos for the range achievement on the Bolt, I believe the applause should also go to an unsung hero: LG Chem.

LG Chem has had close collaboration with General Motors for at least the past 5 years. Their first major application of an EV battery went to the 1st generation Chevrolet Volt (2011 to 2015). The battery boasted an innovative design that allowed for each cell to be thermally protected with liquid-cooling. This thermal management system (TMS) was integral to the reliability and durability of the battery pack for the Chevy Volt, and many owners benefited, as there haven’t been any widespread documented cases of cell degradation, capacity loss, or perceived range loss. In fact, one owner, Erick Belmer, has crossed over 300,000 miles (over 100,000 of which are EV miles) on his 2012 Chevrolet Volt without any perceived battery degradation or capacity loss.

LG Chem also benefited from the collaboration with GM, learning valuable insight into how their batteries fared in the real world. The low and high buffers for the Gen 1 Volt pack (original packs were not allowed to charge below 20% or above 80% to improve battery life and maintain capacity) were reduced slightly, increasing EV range from 35 to 38 miles over the life of Gen 1’s production run.


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I hope GM can offer a deal to the Leaf owners; I would cancel my Tesla order and go Chevy Bolt for the right offer and an honest 200 mile range.

This article makes no mention of the fact that all of GM's EV/PHEVs contain their own proprietary battery composition. Yes, LG Chem manufactures the batteries, but they are GM's own recipes.

Thanks for your feedback VFanRJ. Yes, there's many people on GM's R&D team that should also be credited for their contributions to ensure the durability and reliability of the battery packs (in the Gen 1 and 2 Volt, Spark EV, and Bolt). Denise Gray, Pam Fletcher, Andrew Farah and the teams they led worked wonders and gave tremendous energy to ensure these cars meet and exceed the expectations of their owners. There's much that GM did contribute to cell chemistry, TMS parameters for battery cooling, strength and durability testing, pack design, etc. I'll add that to the article.

The point I wanted to make was the extensive collaboration between GM and LG Chem. My belief is that the 238 mileage achievement, launch of pre-production vehicles, and the milestones to bring the car to market (as soon as it did) couldn't have happened without the synergies between the 2 companies. I wanted that to be recognized.