Its new battery innovation center could change everything.
General Motors has just announced plans to build an all-new innovation center that will significantly expand its battery technology and accelerate the development of longer range and more affordable EVs. Called the Wallace Battery Cell Innovation Center, it'll be located on the campus of the automaker's tech campus in Warren, Michigan.
The completed facility will be a 300,000 square-foot building where engineers will be assigned to advance lithium-metal, silicon and solid-state batteries for the next generation of all-electric vehicles. Newcomers like the GMC Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq are already completed and ready to go.
The center is also charged with improving production methods that can be transferred to other battery cell plants, like GM's joint venture with LG Energy Solution in Lordstown, Ohio, Spring Hill, Tennessee, and other "undisclosed locations in the US." The company's goal is to develop batteries that have a 500 to 600-mile range on a single charge and to reduce production costs by 60 percent compared to current figures.
"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," said Doug Parks, GM executive vice president of Global Product Development. The facility is currently under construction and is set to be completed in mid-2022.
If all goes to plan it should build its first prototype cells in the fourth quarter of next year. GM has the ultimate goal of launching 30 new EVs globally by 2025. A decade later, it aims for its entire fleet of light-duty vehicles to be emissions-free. It's a big deal that GM decided for this R&D facility to not only be in the US but also in its home state of Michigan.
Last week, Ford announced plans to build twin battery plants in Kentucky with a total investment of $11.4 billion and around 11,000 new jobs. This caused something of a stir back in Michigan as officials there very much wanted to see Ford build batteries there instead.