GM to invest in next-gen battery facility

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General Motors has announced plans to build the Wallace Battery Cell Innovation Center, an all-new facility that will expand the company’s battery technology operations and accelerate development and commercialization of longer range, more affordable electric vehicle batteries. The Wallace Center will be located on the campus of GM’s Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan.

The US OEM believes the facility will help advance its vision of an all-electric future and pave the way for widespread adoption of EVs, building on more than a decade of advanced battery development at GM Research and Development. The company will also use the facility to integrate the work of GM-affiliated battery innovators, helping the company to reach its stated goal of at least 60% lower battery costs.

The Wallace Center is currently under construction and will be completed in mid-2022. Designed for expansion, the facility is projected to grow up to at least three times its initial footprint, with room for additional investments, as demand for EVs increases. The facility is expected to build its first prototype cells in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Doug Parks, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, commented, “The Wallace Center will significantly ramp up development and production of our next-generation Ultium batteries and our ability to bring next-generation EV batteries to market. The addition of the Wallace Center is a massive expansion of our battery development operations and will be a key part of our plan to build cells that will be the basis of more affordable EVs with longer range in the future.”

The battery engineering team based at the Wallace Center will work on a range of future battery chemistries in addition to lithium-metal, including pure silicon and solid-state, along with different cell form factors. The Wallace Center is expected to build batteries ranging in energy density from 600Wh/l to 1200Wh/l, and crucial battery cell ingredients such as cell active materials.

The Michigan facility will include cell test chambers, cell formation chambers, a material synthesis lab where GM can design its own cathode active materials, a slurry mixing and processing lab, a coating room, electrolyte production lab, and a forensics lab with material analysis equipment and advanced software.

A data farm will enable GM’s battery development team to harness artificial intelligence breakthroughs, with all battery-related processes inside and outside of the lab tied together in one cloud.

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Sam joined the UKi Media & Events automotive team in 2017. Having started out as assistant editor for a number of titles including Engine + Powertrain Technology International, Automotive Testing Technology International and Professional Motorsport World, he was appointed editor of E+PTI in 2020. Sam produces content for both the magazine and website.

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