Executives say the lab will be up and running by mid to late next year and will house hundreds of engineers and others who will work on battery innovations and manufacturing.
“We need to make better batteries that cost a lot less,” said Tim Grewe, GM’s director of battery cell engineering and strategy.
GM said it was spending “hundreds of millions of dollars” on the lab but would not give details. The lab will employ hundreds of them, but GM wouldn’t give an exact number either. Executives said there would be new hires.
The automaker is working on several new battery chemistries, including solid state ones, which contain a solid conductive material instead of the liquid electrolyte found in most current lithium-ion batteries. Solid-state batteries can store more energy, extend range, or allow smaller batteries.
The lab will also be working on building larger battery cells, which can lower costs as well.
Scientists and building engineers will work with GM research and manufacturing engineers who are already busy with new GM electric vehicles and battery designs. People from GM’s two joint venture battery factories in Ohio and Tennessee will also occasionally be in the lab. It will be able to produce prototypes of batteries.
GM is expected to see the benefits of the new facility by the middle of the decade, executives said.
Currently, GM’s only fully electric offerings are the Chevrolet Bolt and a Bolt utility vehicle. The Bolt is able to travel 259 miles (417 kilometers) on a single charge and starts at around $ 32,000. The cars are being recalled due to a series of battery fires.
The Detroit-based automaker plans to spend $ 35 billion on electric and autonomous vehicles from 2020 to 2025. It plans to deploy 30 new electric vehicles globally by 2025 and aims to sell only electric passenger vehicles from 2020 to 2025. ‘by 2035.
GM appears to be in a duel with crosstown rival Ford over battery factory and lab announcements. Ford last week said it and a partner would spend more than $ 11 billion on three battery factories and an electric vehicle assembly plant in Tennessee and Kentucky. Previously, Ford announced the construction of a battery lab in Romulus, Michigan, near Detroit.
Ford predicts that 40-50% of its sales in the United States will be electric by 2030. (AP) IND IND