Detroit Auto Show 2009: GM to Manufacture Volt Battery Packs in Michigan


GM Increases Battery Investments
We already knew that the Chevy Volt would use lithium-ion cells made by LG Chem (and not A123 Systems - or at least, not at first), but now GM has announced that while the cells will come from South-Korea's LG Chem, the actual T-shaped battery packs will be made in a new plant in Michigan. Rick Wagoner has also announced a new GM battery lab and a partnership with the University of Michigan.

Read on for more.
Battery Manufacturing Plant
GM will establish the first lithium-ion battery pack manufacturing facility (investing about $30 million) operated by a major automaker in the United States. So far, almost all lithium-ion batteries were made in Asia. The company still has to negotiate with state authorities, but construction should start in 2009 with production starting in 2010.

Rick Wagoner said: "The design, development and production of advanced batteries must be a core competency for GM, and we've been rapidly building our capability and resources to support this direction. This is a further demonstration of our commitment to the electrification of the automobile and to the Chevrolet Volt - a commitment that now totals more than $1 billion."

GM's Battery Lab
GM will open what it says is the "largest automotive battery lab in the United States", and at 31,000 square feet / 3,251 square meters, that's not too hard to believe. But size isn't everything; let's hope that they'll be able to get good talent and equipment in there and will keep funding it properly even if gas prices stay low a little while longer.

University of Michigan Partnership
"A five-year, $5-million award establishes the GM/U-M Advanced Battery Coalition for Drivetrains (ABCD), headquartered at U-M. Three U-M engineering professors are involved, as is a faculty member at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs."

The goal here is to do fundamental research and experimentation to push forward the development of advanced batteries (and improve life, power, safety, etc).

Photos: Michael Graham Richard

See also: 23 Electric Cars Driving the Revolution
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