United States based auto maker General Motors Co is targeting to boost its battery development capacity so that it can offer a higher single charge driving range for its electric cars in a smaller package and is set to start a partnership with a lithium metal battery startup for this purpose.
GM would be able to bring down the weight from the vehicle, a crucial aim for auto makers as they push to roll out electric vehicles, from this joint development agreement with SolidEnergy Solutions (SES) of Woburn, Massachusetts. The middle of the current decade, the cost of its Ultium battery packs will be brought down by 60 per cent compared to the current prices and yet have twice the energy density, GM has said.
GM said that through the joint venture, the two companies aim to construct a manufacturing line at SES which be used to assemble a prototype battery by 2023. In 2015, an undisclosed amount in SES was invested by the car maker. Nome of the companies disclosed any terms and conditions of the partnership.
The use of lithium metal instead of the traditional graphite plates used in battery cells allows such cells to be able to store more energy and therefore offer a greater driving range for electric cars of the future or offer a driving similar range at a much smaller and lighter battery pack.
The future Ultium-based vehicles from GM will make use of the technology being developed with SES, said GM executives. The company is set to launch the first such Ultium-based electric vehicle – the GMC Hummer electric pickup truck, for sale this fall.
“This is a great opportunity for us to find greater energy in a smaller package that will free up the space inside the vehicle for other technology,” Kent Helfrich, executive director of GM’s global electrification and battery systems, said in an interview.
The plans and strategy of GM to cut down on costs for batteries for electric cars and for extending the driving range on a single charge of batteries as announced by the company last year critically rests on the Ultium batteries. GM is also partnering with LG Energy Solution, a unit of LG Chem, for development of a Ultium battery plant in Ohio in a joint venture effort worth $2.3 billion in investments. The two companies are expected to build a second such battery factory potentially in Tennessee.
Phasing out sale of light-duty vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel by 2035 has also been set by the Detroit automaker, the company had said in January.
(Adapted from LiveMint.com)