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GM bolsters partnership to drive development of its high nickel pouch cells

Tue, 04/06/2021 - 09:13 -- Paul Crompton

Vehicle OEM General Motors (GM) has revealed a joint development agreement with lithium metal battery developer SolidEnergy Systems (SES) as it continues to drive development of its high-nickel lithium-ion pouch cells.

The joint development agreement— a progression of the firms’ ongoing collaboration on lithium-metal batteries— could see the companies build a manufacturing prototyping line for a high-capacity, pre-production battery by 2023 in Massachusetts, US.

GM Ventures was an early investor in SES in 2015 as it looked to accelerate lithium-metal battery commercialisation by working with companies and making investments.

SES researches, develops and manufactures of lithium-metal technology and AI-powered battery management software to optimise performance and safety. 

GM’s Ultium prototype batteries have already completed 150,000 simulated test miles at the research and development laboratory at its Global Technical Center in Michigan, US.

General Motors president Mark Reuss said at a Washington Post Live virtual conference that affordability and range were two major barriers to mass EV adoption.

He said: “With this next-generation Ultium chemistry, we believe we’re on the cusp of a once-in-a-generation improvement in energy density and cost. There’s even more room to improve in both categories, and we intend to innovate faster than any other company in this space.”

GM says its Ultium batteries range from 50 to 200 kWh, which could enable an estimated range up to 400 miles on a full charge 

Ultium-powered EVs are being designed for Level 2 and DC fast charging. Most will have 400-volt battery packs and up to 200 kW fast-charging capability, while our truck platform will have 800-volt battery packs and 350 kW fast-charging capability.

In 2019, GM announced the formation of Ultium Cells, a joint venture with LG Energy Solution to mass-produce battery cells in Ohio, US for future battery-electric vehicles. Construction is underway at the facility.

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