General Motors is investing in a next-generation battery facility that is expected to expand its battery technology operations significantly. Called the Wallace Battery Cell Innovation Center, the new space will also accelerate development and commercialization of longer range, more affordable electric vehicle batteries, according to GM.
Located on the campus of GM’s Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, the Wallace Center is expected to play a pivotal role in advancing GM’s vision of an all-electric future and help pave the way to widespread adoption of EVs.
GM will also use the facility to integrate the work of GM-affiliated battery innovators, helping the company to reach its stated goal of at least 60 percent lower battery costs with the next generation of Ultium.
Currently under construction, the Wallace Center will be completed in mid-2022. Designed with an expansion in mind, the facility is projected to grow up to at least three times its initial footprint. It will therefore offer room for additional investments, as demand for EVs increases. The facility is expected to build its first prototype cells in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Gallery: GM Battery Engineers At Work
GM says the Wallace Center will allow it to accelerate new technologies like lithium-metal, silicon and solid-state batteries, along with production methods that can quickly be deployed at battery cell manufacturing plants. Those include GM's joint ventures with LG Energy Solution in Lordstown, Ohio, and Spring Hill, Tennessee, and other undisclosed locations in the US.
The facility will be capable of building large-format, prototype lithium-metal battery cells for vehicle usage beyond the small-scale lithium-metal cells typically used in handheld devices or research applications. 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.
Batteries built in the new building will range in energy density from 600 to 1200 watt-hours per liter, and the plant will also make crucial battery cell ingredients like cell active materials.
“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. 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.”
Doug Parks, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain
The facility will also connect GM’s network of battery development sites located on its Global Technical Center campus, including GM’s Research and Development Chemical and Materials’ Subsystems Lab and the Estes Battery Systems Lab.
The Wallace Battery Cell Innovation Center is named after Bill Wallace, a former GM director of Battery Systems and Electrification, who played an essential role in the development of the automaker’s advanced battery technology and trained many of its current battery leaders. He led the team that designed and released GM’s advanced automotive battery systems in the Chevrolet Volt 1, Volt 2, Malibu Hybrid, and Bolt EV.
Read more about GM's battery cell plants