General Motors has announced plans to build a new battery development facility on the grounds of its Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. The Wallace Battery Cell Innovation Center will “significantly expand the company’s battery technology operations and accelerate development and commercialization of longer-range, more affordable electric vehicle batteries.”
The facility is named after the late Bill Wallace, a GM director who played a pivotal role in the development of the automaker’s battery technology.
The center will connect GM’s existing battery development sites at the Global Technical Center, including the Chemical and Materials Subsystems Lab, which currently leads the company’s battery development, and the Estes Battery Systems Lab, a 100,000-square-foot battery validation lab.
The Wallace Center will include cell test chambers, cell formation chambers, a material synthesis lab where GM can design its own cathode active materials, a slurry mixing and processing lab, a coating room, an electrolyte production lab, and a forensics lab with material analysis equipment. A data farm will enable GM’s battery development team to harness the latest AI breakthroughs.
GM says the Wallace Center will allow it to accelerate the development of new technologies such as lithium-metal, silicon and solid-state batteries, along with new production methods that can quickly be deployed at GM’s cell manufacturing plants.
The Wallace Center will be capable of building large-format, prototype lithium-metal battery cells for use in EVs. These cells could be as large as 1,000 mm, nearly twice the size of the initial Ultium pouch cells, and will be based on GM’s proprietary formula.
The Wallace Center is currently under construction, and will be completed in mid-2022. The facility is expected to build its first prototype cells in the fourth quarter of 2022. It’s designed for expansion, and is projected to grow to three times its initial footprint as demand for EVs increases.
“The Wallace Center will significantly ramp up development and production of our next-generation Ultium batteries and our ability to bring next-generation EV batteries to market,” said GM Executive VP Doug Parks. “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 of more affordable EVs with longer range in the future.”