On Tuesday, General Motors announced a critical step in the advancement of electric vehicle efficiency and range improvement with plans to open an “innovation centre” for battery technology. The centre aims to accelerate the development of long-range EV batteries, while lowering the costs associated with their production.
According to GM, the ultimate goal is to create EVs with almost 1,000-kilometres of range utilizing double energy density batteries, with a 60 per cent cost reduction by mid-decade. The automaker plans to experiment with lithium metal, pure silicon, and solid-state battery technologies, and different cell form factors. Specifically, the facility will be equipped to work with cells “based on GM’s proprietary formula and as large as 1,000 mm, which is more than twice the width of GM’s large-format pouch cells.”
The new facility will be called the Wallace Battery Cell Innovation Center, named after former GM director of battery systems and electrification, Bill Wallace, who passed away in 2018. The facility will reportedly stretch 300,000 square-feet as part of GM’s Warren campus and will operate alongside GM’s Estes Lab and the R&D site which currently leads their battery development efforts.
This news follows a significant US$5 billion investment made by GM into U.S. battery production, and has been described by GM’s VP for global product development, Doug Parks, as “a key part of our plan to build cells that will be the basis of more affordable EVs with longer range in the future.”