By on October 5, 2021


We’ve written about the lofty promises automakers are making when it comes to EVs, but regardless of whether you think they’ll make their targets or not, they’re at least putting plans in motion.

Ford has its Blue Oval City. Meanwhile, General Motors has plans to open a battery-cell lab in suburban Detroit.

According to Automotive News, it will be part of its Global Technical Center in Warren, Mich. It will be called the Wallace Battery Cell Innovation Center in honor of late GM engineer Bill Wallace. Wallace worked on battery engineering.

GM thinks the lab will triple in size over time as EV demand increases.

“To put everybody in an EV, we need to make better batteries that cost a lot less. That’s why we’re investing in this research center and development center,” Tim Grewe, director of global battery cell engineering and strategy, told AN.

GM hasn’t disclosed the cost of the investment, but an exec told the News it’s at least hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Wallace Center isn’t the first battery-related facility to be part of the campus. The Research and Development Chemical and Materials’ Subsystems Lab is in charge of battery development and the Estes Battery Systems Lab works on cells, modules, and packs.

The new center will focus on advancing battery technology involving components like lithium-ion and silicon while also testing production methods. It will also allow the company to prototype large-format cells — something it can’t currently do at its research and development facilities.

The large-format cells are almost twice the size of what’s currently in use in the company’s Ultium batteries. They also use stacked electrodes, which GM says is key to achieving higher-density batteries. That translates into increased range and lower mass.

It’s all part of a strategy to create batteries that are high density and low cost.

[Image: GM]

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9 Comments on “General Motors Plans Battery-Cell Lab in Southeast Michigan...”

  • avatar

    Ford built a ‘yuge new battery lab in a different Detroit suburb last year. I guess all the cool kids are doing it now. Hey FCA… er I mean Stellantis, where you at?!

  • avatar

    It’s GM and Barra. They’ll probably fail to meet expectations somehow.

  • avatar

    Tesla, Toyota, the Koreans, and the Chinese built their labs years ago. It takes years to develop new technology, maybe even more time to figure out how to make it. They’re way, way late to the game.

    “It will also allow the company to prototype large-format cells”

    and tesla has a pilot plant spitting out large format cells for the last year.

    “GM thinks the lab will triple in size over time as EV demand increases.”

    That’s not the way it works. They need to triple the size of the lab before demand scales. What idiotic thinking. They’re doomed if that’s the case.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    It’s the right thing to do if you’re serious about being competitive.

    The buying public will begin to notice that EV vehicle efficiencies are not all the same, and labs like this will help each mfr do better. Motors and controls are also vital parts of the equation.

    People who don’t even want a Tesla wonder how they get 50% more range from the same battery capacity as some of their competitors (e.g. Polestar), in a quicker car. This is why.

  • avatar

    Hope it has a good fire suppression system. Oof.

    Seriously, are they going to be working on new technologies, like solid-state batteries?

  • avatar

    This is a smokescreen – a red herring – a feint [“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.” – Sun Tzu]. If you pay close attention, you will notice that GM spends around $6,000,000,000 a year (that’s $6 Billion with a B), on Research & Development – every year. Any technology that will ever go into a motor vehicle, they already have it, on the shelf, ready to go [or rather, ready to stay on the shelf, but we digress].

    (Ford spends even more, around $7 Billion a year, and their technology is approximately 3.7X more advanced than GM’s – I read it on TTAC.)

    Do you seriously believe that in 2021 the legacy OEM’s are playing catch-up to a bunch of newbies? No, the legacy automakers are future-proof.

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