General Motors Plans Battery-Cell Lab in Southeast Michigan

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
general motors plans battery cell lab in southeast michigan

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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  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Oct 05, 2021

    Hope it has a good fire suppression system. Oof. Seriously, are they going to be working on new technologies, like solid-state batteries?

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Oct 05, 2021

    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.

  • Luke42 I'm only buying EVs from here on out (when I have the option), so whoever backs off on their EV plans loses a shot at my business.
  • Dusterdude When there is a strike the union leadership talk about “brothers and sisters “ . They should give up that charade . Bottom line is they are trying to wring out every last penny they can and could care less ( putting it politely) about the future of the industry 5 - 10 years+ down the road
  • Ronin They all will back off, because the consumer demand is not there. Even now the market is being artificially propped up by gov subsidies.
  • Keith Some of us appreciate sharing these finds. Thank you. I always have liked these. It would a fun work car or just to bomb around in. Easy to keep running. Just get an ignition kill switch and you would have no worries leaving it somewhere. Those OEM size wheels and tires are comical. A Juke has bigger wheels!
  • Ollicat I have a Spyder. The belt will last for many years or 60,000-80,000 miles. Not really a worry.