A popular question newbies ask about electric vehicles is, “so what happens to the battery when it dies?” The answer was presented in nifty gamified form at the Toronto Pan-Am Games General Motors “Volt Power of Play” booth at Exhibition Place. As the GM ad agency crew on hand explained, the objective of the tent exhibit was to showcase secondary use electric vehicle battery technology.
General Motors claims to be the first automaker in Canada to demonstrate secondary use of electric vehicle batteries. The research and development work is being done at the General Motors Canadian Engineering Centre in Oshawa Ontario. The team in Oshawa is responsible for developing a Chevrolet Volt Secondary Use Battery System that has many potential uses. One of these uses was demonstrated at CIBC Pan Am Park in the Volt Secondary Use Battery Tower.
The system is also being used at an IT Data Centre in Milford, Michigan to provide backup and auxiliary power to the building. To put this innovation in context, a secondary use battery unit the size of the one at the Milford IT Data Centre administration building would power a typical 2,000 sq ft home for about 10 hours.
The Power of Play exhibit featured a marathon slot car race. Visitors were challenged to use their pedal-power on six specially connected bicycles. The bikes are electrically connected to corresponding cars on the track. A series of 5 Chevy Volt batteries powered the track and tent, but the bikes control the speed – making it a true race. The bikes also work to charge the battery.
The exhibit was not just about racing, however. It was an illustration of the potential secondary uses for the batteries in Chevrolet Volt electric vehicles, as well as a means to test how renewable energy sources can generate stored electricity while minimizing environmental impact.
Chevrolet is also evaluating other implementation opportunities for this technology.
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