In a press release, GM said the move “cements” the lab’s status as the as the largest battery lab in North America owned and operated by a major auto manufacturer.
GM Vice President of Global Product Programs Doug Parks said, “In the past four years, the competitive landscape in the electrification space has grown exponentially. This has required us to raise our game and draw a new line in the sand. To maintain our battery leadership, this additional real estate is filled with new capability that will help us improve speed to market for our next generation of battery systems and help us improve the value equation to our customers around the world.”
In addition to testing and validating both individual cells and whole battery packs for the Volt, Spark EV, and ELR electrification systems, the lab worked on GM’s eAssist mild hybrid system. The release said additional capabilities of the laboratory include:
- dedicated equipment for future vehicle battery system development such as charger development and testing, cord set testing and competitive benchmarking;
- building prototype battery packs for vehicle development programs; and,
- the ability to act as the hub for validation and testing of all battery systems designed for use in future GM vehicles around the world.
A recent accomplishment of the lab, according to the release: Tweaks to the Volt’s electrification system that resulted in an additional three miles of EV range being squeezed from it for 2013 models compared to previous years.
GM Executive Director of Global Electrification Engineering Larry Nitz said, “GM is committed to vehicle electrification and our products in this area must continue to excite customers. A critical part of this plan is to deliver safe, reliable and affordable energy storage systems. The new capabilities of this lab will enhance our engineers’ ability to design, develop, process and validate class-leading products to meet the needs of our growing customer base.”
GM’s Global Battery Systems Laboratory is located in Warren, MI. The General also operates battery labs in Shanghai, China and Mainz-Kastel, Germany, the release said.