There are unconfirmed reports that General Motors is undergoing secret tests with a range of EV vehicles that could potentially produce a 300 mile per charge journey capacity. This is exactly the capacity that many U.S. motorists have suggested would be the critical point at which they would consider converting to electric vehicles from their traditional gasoline and hybrid vehicles.
There is some confusion with regards to these so-called "secret tests", with General Motors unwilling to confirm or deny reports whilst rumours circulate that the $7 million the company invested into battery operation Envia is beginning to pay dividends.
Why would General Motors hold back?
The world of electric powered vehicles is very competitive and it is very difficult to see how the company could in any way, shape, or form, keep such groundbreaking tests secret from the rest of the sector. There is even a suggestion that an executive director of General Motors has confirmed there are prototypes with 400 W hours per kilogram batteries, with the potential to leave the EVs of today in their wake.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "The rollout of the Chevrolet Spark and the Chevrolet Volt in electric vehicle formats has certainly caught the attention of the worldwide motoring media. For many years the company has been refusing to contemplate entry into the electric vehicle market although it has shown interest in the hybrid market as something of a stop gap in the short term."
It was however interesting to see that General Motors recently spoke up against a new electric vehicle tax after remaining fairly silent on the subject since the EV1 debacle.
Are we at a turning point for the EV sector?
While there is no doubt that electric vehicle technology has moved on in leaps and bounds over the last few years, until today's news of a "secret test" by General Motors there was no real indication that the industry was on the verge of such a move to the 300 mile per battery charge level. If, and this is a big if, General Motors was to come out and confirm it was in possession of prototypes offering this kind of range, this would be a serious game changer.
It is worth noting that the U.S. government, in tandem with an array of electric vehicle manufacturers such as General Motors, recently committed itself to a multi-million dollar investment in battery technology. So there is no doubt that those in the industry and those in politics have identified battery technology as the potential weak point in the industry at this moment in time and seem to be willing and able to address.
Who else is testing secret prototypes?
As we touched on above, there is no doubt that the EV market is very competitive, takes in some groundbreaking technology, and there is literally a pot of gold for the first affordable EV with a journey capacity of over 300 miles. It would be somewhat ironic if this turned out to be General Motors when you bear in mind the General Motors EV1 and the vicious backlash which the company faced after its demise.
While the industry itself has had a couple of relatively difficult weeks, investigative journalists will now be hovering over the likes of General Motors, Tesla, etc., to see exactly what they are up to. If there are any secrets to be revealed then now could be the time.