WARREN, Michigan – General Motors Corp. says a new electric vehicle battery research center being developed here will improve the production methods used at its Ultium Cells factory in Lordstown.
On Tuesday, GM announced the Wallace Battery Cell Innovation Center, a brand new facility that will significantly expand the company’s battery technology operations and accelerate the development and commercialization of longer-lasting and more affordable electric vehicle batteries. The Wallace Center will be located on the campus of GM’s Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan.
The Wallace Center builds on more than a decade of advanced battery development at GM Research and Development, and will play a central role in the company’s all-electric future, according to a press release. It will also help the company meet its goal of at least 60% lower battery costs with the next generation of Ultium.
The Wallace Center is currently under construction and will be completed in mid-2022. Designed for expansion, the facility is expected to grow to at least three times its initial footprint, with room for additional investment, as demand for electric vehicles increases. The facility is expected to build its first cell prototypes in the fourth quarter of 2022.
“The Wallace Center will significantly accelerate the development and production of our next-generation Ultium batteries and our ability to commercialize next-generation electric vehicle batteries,” said Doug Parks, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development, purchasing and supply chain. “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 for more affordable electric vehicles with longer range in the future. “
The Wallace Center will allow GM to accelerate new technologies such as lithium-metal, silicon, and solid-state batteries, as well as production methods that can be quickly deployed in battery cell manufacturing plants, including the Ultium plant in Lordstown, as well as the plant in Spring Hill, Tenn. and other undisclosed locations, the statement said.
The facility will connect GM’s network of battery development sites located on the campus of its Global Technical Center, including its Chemical Research and Development Lab, Materials Subsystems Lab and Estes Battery Systems Lab. .
The Wallace Center will be able to build prototypes of large format lithium-metal battery cells for use in vehicles beyond the small-scale lithium-metal cells typically used in portable devices or research applications. These cells could measure up to 1,000mm, nearly double the size of the original Ultium pocket cells, and will be based on GM’s proprietary formula.
About the Wallace Battery Cell Innovation Center
GM currently has more than 2,000 granted and pending patents related to EV battery technology, including 60 patents and trade secrets and 46 others pending in areas critical to future battery development, such as lithium-metal electrolytes, anodes, cathodes and binders, according to Liberation.
The Wallace Center battery engineering team will experiment with many types of future battery chemistries in addition to lithium metal, including pure silicon and solid state, as well as different cell form factors. The Wallace Center is expected to build batteries that range in energy density from 600 to 1,200 watt hours per liter, along with essential ingredients for battery cells such as active cell materials.
The Wallace Center will include cell test chambers, cell formation chambers, a materials synthesis laboratory where GM can design its own cathodic active materials, a sludge mixing and processing laboratory, a coating room, an electrolyte production laboratory and a forensic laboratory with materials analysis equipment. and advanced software.
A data farm will allow GM’s battery development team to harness the latest advances in artificial intelligence, with all battery-related processes inside and outside the lab tied together in one huge cloud.
About Bill Wallace
The facility is named after Bill Wallace, a GM director who has been central to the development of the automaker’s advanced battery technology and has trained many of its current battery leaders. As Director of Battery Systems and Electrification, Wallace led the team that designed and released GM’s advanced automotive battery systems in the Chevrolet Volt 1, Volt 2, Malibu Hybrid and Bolt EV.
“Besides being a good friend, Bill was an innovator who enabled other innovators,” Parks said. “He gave his team the confidence to take risks and go beyond their wildest dreams in pursuit of our all-electric, zero-emission future. “
Wallace also pioneered GM’s relationship with LG Chem R&D (now LG Energy Solution), culminating in the Ultium Cells LLC battery cell manufacturing joint venture currently under construction.
Despite battling terminal cancer, Wallace continued to passionately lead and inspire his team. Wallace worked until his death in 2018. His legacy lives on through the Wallace Battery Cell Innovation Center and the team he influenced.
Source: General Motors
Pictured: Architectural rendering of the completed first phase of GM’s Wallace Battery Cell Innovation Center. (Image: General Motors)
Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.