By Mike Goetz
GM will establish a lithium-ion battery pack manufacturing facility in Michigan, making it the first such plant operated by a major automaker in the U.S. It will build lithium-ion cells that are grouped into modules, along with other key battery components.
The plan is to break ground in early 2009, with output starting in 2010. The battery packs will initially go into the Chevrolet Volt. GM has partnered with Korea’s LG Chem, and has been using the Korean company’s battery backs for virtually all of Volts’ testing procedures so far.
Compact Power, a subsidiary of LG Chem in Troy, Michigan, will continue to build battery packs for Volt prototype vehicles until GM’s battery facility is operational. In addition, GM and LG Chem have entered into an engineering contract, to expedite the development of the Volt’s lithium-ion battery technology.
GM will also open a new automotive battery lab – the largest of its kind – in the U.S., to further R&D efforts in battery technology. Finally, a partnership with the University of Michigan has been established to develop a specialized curriculum for battery engineers.