Electric Vehicle

GM targets range and battery cost improvements to accelerate all-electric future

General Motors has signed a deal with a Massachusetts Institute of Technology spinout for joint development of next-generation electric vehicle batteries that are expected to cut the cost of the technology by 60%.

GM tied-up with Singapore-based SolidEnergy Systems, which was founded by MIT grad Qichao Hu, is focused on new battery chemistry to reduce the size of the batteries while increasing an EV’s range. That then helps lower the cost of the vehicles. As part of the deal, GM and SolidEnergy Systems plan to build a prototype production line in Woburn, Massachusetts, for a “high-capacity, pre-production battery by 2023.” GM’s venture capital arm initially invested an undisclosed amount in SolidEnergy Systems in 2015.

The new batteries feature lithium metal instead of lithium-ion like today’s EVs use. The switch changes the chemistry of the battery to enable higher energy density and longer range from a similar-sized battery or comparable range with a smaller battery.

General Motors has made several announcements about rapidly driving toward its all-electric, zero-emissions future, including:

  • GM revealed the heart of its EV strategy, a modular propulsion system and highly flexible global EV platform powered by proprietary Ultium batteries that will allow the company to compete for nearly every customer in the market today.
  • GM committed more than $27 billion to EV and AV product development and plans to launch 30 EVs globally by the end of 2025, with more than two-thirds available in North America. Cadillac, GMC, Chevrolet and Buick will all be represented, with EVs at all price points for work, adventure, performance and family use.
  • In January 2021, GM unveiled BrightDrop, a new business that aims to electrify and improve the delivery of goods and services by offering an ecosystem ofelectric first-to-last-mile products, software and services to help empower delivery and logistics companies to move goods more efficiently.
  • GM’s zero-emissions technology will extend to fuel cells and the company announced it will supply its Hydrotec fuel cell power cubes to Navistar for use in its production model fuel cell electric vehicle – the International® RHTMTM Series. 
  • GM is investing $2 billion to transition the Spring Hill, Tennessee plant to build EVs, including Cadillac LYRIQ.
  • GM announced that the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, named Factory ZERO, will be GM’s first plant that is 100 percent devoted to electric vehicles and in fall 2021, will start building the new GMC HUMMER EV.*
  • In 2019, GM announced the formation of Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture with LG Energy Solution** to mass-produce battery cells in Ohio for future battery-electric vehicles. Construction is currently underway at the facility.

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