GM to Build New Battery Development Center to Reduce Costs

GM to Build New Battery Development Center to Reduce Costs

Helping GM’s future EVs go further on a single charge

  • New battery development center will strive to give GM's EVs greater range, cut costs.
  • The 300,000-square-foot facility will be built in Warren, Michigan.

Hot on the heels of Ford announcing its new Blue Oval City, General Motors is also taking the plunge on an all-new battery development center. While it doesn't quite grab headlines the way Ford's $11 billion investment did, the new facility is an important step for GM. The new Wallace Center's goal is to build more cost-effective batteries and give GM's next generation of EVs exceptional range.

The center, to be built in a Detroit suburb, will allow GM to further develop lithium-metal, silicon and solid-state battery technology. The stated goal of the facility, beyond developing new tech and giving EVs a greater driving range, is to cut the costs of batteries by as much as 60%. The plan is to bring research and development and manufacturing engineers together to work on making more efficient, power-dense batteries. 

GM officials have previously said that its future EVs could reach up to 600 miles of range on a single charge (a huge barrier given that Lucid only recently touched 500 miles with its Air Dream Edition R). It plans on doing this by using a metallic lithium anode in its batteries. To date, using metallic lithium has been difficult because it is volatile and prone to causing fires and short circuits.

However, metallic lithium brings with it huge benefits in the form of higher energy capacity and higher energy density than typical lithium-ion batteries. If GM can find a way to tame metallic lithium, it would be a huge step forward for its EVs, and while figuring out this tricky beast isn't the Wallace Center's stated goal, GM has said it's working on figuring out how to use it in its EVs.

The Wallace Center will have labs for just about everything, from cell test chambers to a material synthesis lab "where GM can design its own cathode active materials." It's expected to fully open by the fourth quarter of 2022.

Edmunds says

We're all for EVs that cost less and have greater range, but only time will tell if GM will really crack the 600-mile barrier.

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