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Ovonic NiMH Batteries Featured at General Motors Advanced Technology Vehicles Exhibit

5 January 1998

Ovonic NiMH Batteries Featured at General Motors Advanced Technology Vehicles Exhibit

    DETROIT, Jan. 5 -- Ovonic Nickel Metal Hydride batteries for
electric (EV) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) were featured at the North
American International Auto Show being held in Cobo Center as part of General
Motors Advanced Technology Vehicles presentation to the worldwide
media at the preview opening of the show Sunday.  Important product
announcements from GM included the introduction of GM Ovonic NiMH batteries in
the current EV1 production electric vehicle and production HEVs by 2001.  GM
Ovonic NiMH batteries are manufactured by the GM Ovonic L.L.C. joint venture
between Ovonic Battery Co. (Ovonic), a subsidiary of Energy Conversion
Devices, Inc. (ECD) and GM.
    The EV1 equipped with GM Ovonic NiMH batteries will offer drivers more
than 160 miles of driving range on a single charge in real-world driving
conditions.  GM's Exhibit featured both series (driven by electric motor only)
and parallel (driven by both electric motor and internal combustion engine)
HEVs equipped with GM Ovonic NiMH batteries, as well as other advanced
technology vehicles.  The HEV batteries were developed by Ovonic as part of
its "Family of Batteries" Program, aimed at providing a full range of Ovonic
NiMH batteries for EVs and HEVs.  These batteries have the unique advantage of
both high specific energy and high power providing excellent driving range
with outstanding acceleration.
    GM's series hybrid (using an electric motor driving the front wheels) uses
a compact, micro gas turbine generator system to charge the GM Ovonic NiMH HEV
battery pack while driving, providing an effective fuel economy of nearly 100
miles per gallon (MPG) of reformulated gasoline!  This is based on GM's
anticipation that the series hybrid owner will plug the vehicle in overnight
while parked in the garage (grid charging), leaving in the morning with the
HEV batteries fully charged.  Operating as an HEV only (no grid charging), the
hybrid obtains 60 MPG highway and provides a 350 mile driving range.  When the
generator is running, tailpipe emissions are one-half of California's
stringent ultra low emission levels (ULEV).  The very high power-to-energy
ratio GM Ovonic NiMH battery provides ample power for acceleration (0-60 MPH
in 9 seconds) and offers a zero emission, EV only, driving range of 40 miles,
significantly more than other HEV battery types can provide.
    GM also showed a parallel hybrid using an Isuzu direct injection turbo
charged diesel engine and GM Ovonic NiMH batteries (front wheels driven by the
electric motor, rear wheels driven by the diesel engine).  This parallel
hybrid is an all-wheel drive car with 4 wheel regenerative braking to charge
the battery when braking or decelerating.  Both environmentally friendly and
fast (0-60 MPH in 7 seconds), the parallel hybrid has a range of 550 miles and
obtains 80 MPG highway using diesel fuel.  The relatively small displacement
diesel engine produces "big engine" performance when coupled with the electric
drive powered by the high power-to-energy ratio GM Ovonic NiMH batteries, with
a significant reduction in exhaust emissions including C02, a non-regulated
greenhouse gas.
    Mr. Robert C. Purcell, GM's executive director of Advanced Technology
Vehicles (GMATV), outlined GM's strategy to lower the cost of electric
vehicles.  GM expects the future electric vehicle costs to be competitive with
conventional internal combustion engine powered vehicles.  In addition to
component and drivetrain cost reductions, Mr. Purcell noted that the Ovonic
Family of Batteries was a key part of the overall cost reduction strategy and
would occur in three phases:

     *  Phase I   GMO-1 battery now in current production.

     *  Phase II  GMO-2 battery enters production third quarter of
                  1998, first usage in S-10EV, followed by EV1.

     *  Phase III GMO-3 battery with higher specific energy and
                  power will be equivalent in cost (battery pack
                  plus electricity to recharge) to the life cycle fuel
                  cost for internal combustion engine powered

    In November 1997, GM introduced the Chevrolet S-10 electric pick-up truck
with GM Ovonic NiMH batteries to the commercial fleet market.  Several
electric utilities are currently operating these trucks and are reporting more
than two times the driving range on a single charge, compared to S-10 EVs
equipped with lead-acid EV batteries.
    The GM Ovonic NiMH batteries for EVs and HEVs will be available to other
vehicle manufacturers.  The battery, in various sizes, is suitable for EVs and
HEVs from bicycles and scooters to cars, trucks and buses.  A robust, long-
life, maintenance free battery, the GM Ovonic NiMH battery is expected to last
the life of the vehicle (rated at 100,000 miles in an electric car).
    In his remarks at the opening Press Conference, GM Chairman, President and
CEO, Mr. John F. Smith, said, "No car company will be able to thrive in the
21st century if it relies solely on internal combustion engines."  Mr. Smith
further noted that, "No clearly superior alternate technology to conventional
gasoline engines is available today ... but there are several technologies
emerging that have very high potential."   ECD and Ovonic are proud that the
Ovonic NiMH battery technology can make EVs and HEVs practical,
environmentally friendly alternates to today's vehicles.
    ECD is a leader in the synthesis of new materials and the development of
advanced production technology and innovative products.  It has pioneered the
development of products and production technology based on amorphous,
disordered and related materials, with an emphasis on alternative energy and
advanced information technologies.
    ECD's web site is

SOURCE  Energy Conversion Devices, Inc.